The Persico’s Annual Holiday Letter

Happy Holidays and a Happy New Year to You from John and Karen Persico

Karen asked me to start our annual holiday letter.  I was trying to think of a cool “theme” to carry through the letter. I remember when I worked for the Wisconsin Job Service, we categorized jobs under the following:  People, Things and Ideas.  If I add Places, I thought it might be a good scheme to use.  I will defer to Karen on People and Places, since I have always liked Ideas and Things better than People.  Of course, People does not include any of you.

Ideas:  I truly like the idea that we should be about compassion for others less fortunate.  Kindness to those in need of help and Courage in the face of old age and death.  I have been attending seminars on caregiving and Dementia to help me to better understand the impact that these could have on my life and the life of others around me.  I notice that as I age and my friends age, there is a tendency for us to play it safe and to pull in on risk taking.  Maybe that is inevitable, but I think we (I) need to fight back to some degree against it.  Well, that’s all on ideas.  I have left out politics since I am sure that none of you want to hear any of my ideas about it.  Don’t blame you one bit.

Things:  Karen and I bought our first TV set in nearly forty years.  It is a “Smart” TV that we are using via WIFI to watch Netflix and Amazon videos.  Karen likes listening to music on it.  We get no commercials or FAKE NEWS. 😊  If you want to see a vison of the future of “Things,” read the book: “Building the Internet of Things” by Macie J. Franz, a VP of Strategic Innovation at Cisco.   The future will be unbelievable in terms of things.  We will all be around to see some of it.  Well, time to turn this over to Karen.  She is going to her 3 times a week Zumba class now but will return shortly. — John

People and Places:   It will be no surprise to anyone who knows me that I am not nearly as organized as John, so I’m lumping people and places.  They usually go together anyway.  The rhythm of our snow-birding life continued between Fredric and Arizona City with a wonderful addition this year of a trip to England in the fall for nearly a month.  We were very fortunate to have John’s sister Jeanine (my sister too) travel with us.  WIN_20170919_06_37_03_Pro

We spent most of the trip in the Cotswold area in a stone cottage dating from about 1740 (where I had my first ghost experience).  From there we did day trips to quaint villages and castles with a 3-day jaunt to London.  Jeanine and I rode the London Eye, we saw Kinky Boots in the theater district, and did all the usual touristy things.  We felt like we were living in one of the many BBC shows we’ve watched over the years.  A highlight for me was being able to sing in the choir of St. Mary’s the Virgin during the Tetbury Music festival.


The town of Tetbury above is where we stayed. 


Karen sang here with the choir for the service the morning of the Tetbury Music Festival.  St. Mary the Virgin Church. 


The staircase where Karen saw her ghost. 


A typical country road.  They still give me nightmares. 

Went to the changing of the guard at Buckingham Palace, Kinky Boots and up in the London Eye.  Spent three days in London just doing the usual tourist stuff. 


Great to come home each day to our little cottage and cook our own meals.  We would pick up groceries each morning before going out and then cook and have a fire in the evening.  This was our little kitchen area. 


A nice little place in Tetbury to eat out.


Some friends we met in the country side while visiting different places.  We met up twice. 


I found this great trail for hiking and running each day. 


Our children are doing well.  Juli spent much of the year planning and sewing for Garrick and Kat’s wedding last spring.  The newly-weds are living in St. Paul.  Susan is working an extra job to help get her boys through college.  Zach is a senior at Augsburg in Minneapolis and Sam a high school senior in Northfield.  Juli’s Logan is a high school senior in St. Paul, so there will be lots of graduations this year.  Kevin has become a commuter between the Bay Area in California where he works for LinkedIn and his new property in Northern Wisconsin.  It will be nice to live in the same state at least for a few months of the year.  Megan has had an eventful year, moving into a new apartment, surviving the death of her dog Moose, adopting a new Min-Pin, Bambi, and completing her first novel.

John and I are (thankfully) healthy and busy, though a bit slower than we used to be.  It sure feels like it takes longer to do less now.  John has been attending some classes and learning more about caregiving in preparation for us taking care of each other.  He’s been substitute teaching in AZ with interesting stories, particularly of the grade school classes.  He’s taught everything from kindergarten to high school dance classes.  His creativity and organizational skills can get him through most situations.   I’m still working in consulting and ICD-10 coding and playing my dulcimer(s).  We did the usual dulcimer festivals and weekend trips.

We wish all of you a wonderful Christmas season and a blessed New Year.   John and Karen

John:  Could I please say one nasty thing about our politicians? 

Karen:  NO! 

John: OK DAM IT!



5 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Tom Guthrie
    Dec 23, 2017 @ 07:09:12

    Nice letter! We were also in England a couple years ago; you took me back. Thanks. We have a cabin near Shell Lake and sometimes take WI 8 through Fredric to get there. I got rid of my ’83 Suzuki GS850 with its too many electrical problems. Horse traded with the plumber for a couple years of cabin closings. Damn thing never did work quite right anyway. I’m going to my 30th Demontreville retreat the first week of January. I’ll pray for you if I remember to 🙂



    • johnpersico
      Dec 23, 2017 @ 18:52:06

      HI Tom, Good to hear from you. I hope you will stop by sometime if you are that close. Shell lake is only about 35 minutes from Frederic. We have plenty of room for you to stay the night. I will be making my 34 retreat but I switched from January to July because we are now down in AZ for the winter. Happy Holidays, John



  2. Gretchen Misselt
    Dec 23, 2017 @ 10:00:04

    Nice letter. I, too, travelled with my sister-in-law and family in England many years ago and lived in a cottage. Robert and I went to South Africa last spring to visit with family and friends. His eldest sister has dementia and he wanted to see her before she could no longer communicate. It was an important trip for us to plug in to the family crisis and then to see old friends. We are both well.



  3. johnpersico
    Dec 23, 2017 @ 19:00:47

    Hi Gretchen. Where did you stay when you were in England? We didn’t see too much other than the Cotswolds and London (but more than enough to keep us busy for the 3 weeks we were there). I’m glad you and Robert could connect with his sister. Such a difficult disease and as we age, we’re impacted more and more with how it has affected friends and families. John is arranging a cousins reunion in Rhode Island this summer. I haven’t given up on the idea yet, and maybe the summer of 2019 should be our turn to gather at Hay River Church to chat, eat and peruse the cemetery there. I bet you have more family history from your mother than I’ve been able to collect. Blessings to you both.



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