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Christmas Cards, Letters and Messages

Joe & Frances 1997 Joe & Frances 1998

Joe & Frances 1999

Sharen & David 1999

B-Ann & Jim

Joe & Frances 2000 Joe & Frances 2001 Joe & Frances 2002 Sharen & David 2002 Sherry 2002
Aunt Effie 2002 Aunt Sue 2002 Michelle 2002 Peggy & Christy 2002 B-Ann and Jim 2002

Mark & Brigette

Lorraine and Joe
Joe and Frances 2003 Joe and Frances 2004 Brenda and Doug 2004
Diane and Barry 2004 Dana and Joe 2004 Jim Speer 2004 Peggy and Christy 2004 Debi Pearce 2004
Jim and B-Ann 2004 John and Pam 2004 Michelle and Mike 2004 Joe and Frances 2005 Sharen and David 2005
Sherry  2005 Michele and Mike
Brenda and Doug
Jim and B_Ann
Sherry 2006
Sharen and David 2006 Michele and Mike 2006 Joe and Frances 2006 Jim and B-Ann Brenda and Doug 2006
Joe and Frances 2007 Jim, Sharen and David 2007 Jim and B Ann 2007 Sherry 2007 Brenda 2007
Joe and Frances 2008 B-Ann 2008 Brenda 2008 Sherry 2008 Michelle 2008
Sharen and David 2008 Pam and Bill 2008 Sharen and Dave 2009 Joe and Frances 2009 Brenda 2009
Joyce and Tim 2009 B-Ann 2009 Joe and Frances 2010 Joe and Frances 2011 Faye and John 2011
Brenda 2011 Joe and Frances 2012 Sharen and David 2012 Patti and Steve 2012 Faye and John 2012


Merry Christmas to all from the Gurtos

"For unto you is born this day, in the city of David, a saviour who is Christ the Lord"

A Year of Change

1997 has been a year of changes for us.  Remodeling our kitchen caused a major disruption to our household which seemed to last forever but in fact lasted only 8-10 weeks.  As one thing usually leads to another with remodeling this was no exception.  We ended up working on 8 rooms this year, from total change to a simple coat of paint and new furniture.

It is a custom in Australia to name one's house.  We thought we would observe this custom and, since we set out to achieve a Mexican/Mediterranean look for our kitchen, we thought a Spanish or Italian sounding name would be appropriate.  After much deliberation we came up with CAMPOBASSO, the name of the city in Italy where my grandparents, Peter and Mary Gurto were born.  Coincidentally, the English translation is also particularly relevant to our house.

In June we said "Good-bye" to our old car, the 1984 Mitsubishi station wagon we bought 10 years ago when we moved to Australia.  We replaced it with a 1993 Mitsubishi sedan.


On Nov. 9, Dominic and Timothy made their Confirmation.  Dominic chose the name Peter and Timothy chose Anthony.  Jeremy made his first reconciliation on Nov. 22.  Joe, Dominic, Timothy and Jeremy went on an overnight scout camp.  It was really hot so most of the time was spent swimming in the river.  Dominic Hit his head on a running ceiling fan and got 7 stitches.  Timothy had pneumonia and was off school for a week.  Jeremy is wearing a patch over one eye for an hour a day to improve the other eye.  Matilda, our dog, still rules the backyard.  Oh, and you can probably tell we got a computer this year but we're not on the net yet.

School Days

This year, Timothy and Dominic were in year 4.  They made a totem pole out of papier mache for one of their projects.  They learnt to play the recorder and looked after two mice and their babies.  They learnt about growing plants and went on three excursions: to Taronga Zoo, to The Powerhouse Museum and to Elizabeth farm.

Jeremy was in year 2 this year.  He went on an excursion to Manly ocean World.  Jeremy is the best reader in his class and he has read the entire Bible.  Jeremy has had swimming lessons.


A fire in the school hall in late February destroyed the canteen and as the school was already being renovated, free space was at a minimum.  Before the new tuckshop was ready in mid-September, Joe had to move to six different locations.

In June, Frances changed jobs.  She is now working for a small firm in Parramatta, closer to home and a better environment.  Frances also resigned her position of four years as Treasurer of the P&F association.

Jeremy Dominic and Timothy earn their pocket money by doing chores around the house; bringing in the mail, emptying the rubbish, cleaning the yard etc.

We all hope you have a great year in 1998!
Love Joe, Frances, Jeremy, Timothy, Dominic & Matilda


Merry Christmas to all from the Gurtos

May the peace of the Lord be with you
With your friends and your family too
Let it be, Let it grow,
And every where you go
May the peace of the Lord follow you.


In July the whole family packed into the van and headed off to Brisbane, Queensland, about 800 miles from Sydney.  We spent the first two days with our friends, the Dalys, at Mullumbimby where we relaxed in the serenity of the mountains and the rainforest, explored the "hippie" markets, visited the Cape Byron lighthouse at Byron Bay and observed migrating whales.

Then it was off to Brisbane.  Once again we were put up (with) by friends, the Hollands.

The first day's activity and no doubt the highlight of the trip for the boys was Warner Bros. Movie World.  All the rides, shows and attractions made for a long, tiring, but enjoyable day.

A train ride to the city, a visit to the railroad museum, a ferry ride along the Brisbane River, a stroll through the city shops and a ride on the roller coaster at the top of the mall all contributed to our next day.

Day three found us atop Mount Coot-tha overlooking the city and the river before wandering through the Botanic Gardens.  We finished our day with a lovely dinner, drinks, conversation and the hospitality of our friends, the Jarvises.

All too soon we were travelling back to Sydney but we were in no hurry.  We spent the night in Woolgoolga where we ate an Indian meal at a restaurant which was a replica of the Taj Mahal. 

The next day we spent sightseeing.  We went to the Big Banana, The Big Koala, The Big Shrimp, Peppermint park where we rode go-karts and played miniature golf.  We spent the night in Taree with three hours left to travel.  as home was within our grasp we made one final stop.  We just had to see the Biggest Tree in new South Wales.


In May Jeremy made his first Communion.  Frances and I helped prepare the year 3 children in our parish-based sacramental programme.  after 4 weeks of intensive training he was ready.  We watched with pride as he walked to the altar to receive the Sacrament for the first time.  Of course there was a celebration afterwards attended by Jeremy's Godparents and family and friends.  The next week, Jeremy joined his brothers as altar boys and now serves every fortnight with them.

Frances Goes to The City

Frances' firm, G.W. Leyshon, merged with a city firm last July.  After spending just 12 months working closer to home, Frances now boards the train each morning with Dominic and Timothy for her commute to the city. 
Her new firm, Sothertons is a larger organisation and as such offers more opportunities and challenges.
Frances attended a two day Management conference at a resort in the Mountains in august and played her first game of golf.

Shall we Dance?

In April, Frances and I began Ballroom Dancing Lessons.  After a rather slow start we are now getting the hang of the Samba, The Cha Cha, the Rhumba, the Jive and the Tango.  We aren't too bad at the Waltz and the Quickstep.  We are flamboyant at the New Vogue dances like the Swing Waltz and the Merrilyn and absolutely hopeless at the Foxtrot.
The boys also started Ballroom Dancing Lessons at the Beginning of November.   They all seem to pick it up very quickly.  There was a mini competition on Nov. 26th.  Jeremy won 3rd place in the Slow Rhythm, Timothy and Frances got a second place in the Parent and Child Cha Cha and Dominic was a finalist in all of his dances.   Frances and I came first n the Adult Samba (Look out Fred and Ginger!)


by Dominic

This year, Timothy and I started a new school, St. Patrick's College, Strathfield.  It is a very big school which takes up two blocks and has three tennis courts, a swimming pool, a new music centre, a gymnasium, and many, many more useful and helpful facilities.  It has 1440 students ranging from grades 5-12.
To get to this school we need to take public transport, train and bus.  But it didn't go as smoothly as I would have liked.  We had a few mishaps.  One time, instead of catching the normal train, we accidentally caught the Carlingford train which took us to Rose Hill, a station which is not in operation.  We got off the train and there were no phones, no people, no trains, it seemed  that there was no sign of life.   We had to cross the highway to a nearby hotel and call our grandmother.  Of course our Dad and Mum didn't know where we were until 6:30 that night.
In March, we attended the year 5 camp at Illawarra Shores.  It took around 2 hours to get there by bus.  As the site came closer, the excitement grew larger.  When we got there, everybody rushed out.  The teachers unpacked our luggage and showed us to our tent, cabin or train carriage.  I slept in the train carriage nearest to the food.  Timothy slept in the tent furthest away from the food.  While at the camp we did archery, swimming, played squash, went bike riding and went canoeing.  we stayed there for 3 days and 2 nights.  On the way back, we watched Apollo 13.
This year both Timothy and I were involved in choir, Debating, Public Speaking and Chess.   We had a variety night and I sang "Plenty of Nuttin'" from the show Porgy and Bess and Timothy sang a solo of  "Love is in the air".  I also did four projects this year, a board game, a child's storybook, a castle and a volcano.
I really enjoyed this year at school and look forward to starting Year 6 next February.


Dominic and Timothy reached a  major goal in cub scouts.   After 3 years they earned their yellow cords, the highest award a cub scout can earn.  to achieve this they worked hard earning many badges and passing several tests.  They will now be moving on to Boy Scouts. 
On the same day, Jeremy left the Joey Scouts and joined his brothers as a cub scout.

by Timothy

On Friday, 9th January, my dad and I went Canberra, the capital city of Australia.   We started off with a 4 1/2 hour train trip and we took a bus to the Canberra Rex Hotel.  We checked out our room, unpacked and went to the movies to watch Flubber. On the way back we went to MacDonalds.  We stayed up until midnight watching Men In Black.
The next day we had breakfast at the hotel.  After that a bus picked us up for a tour.  Our first stop was the Australian Institute of Sport.  Next we went to the Captain cook water jet where we learned about the history of Canberra.  Then we had lunch at Parliament House and had a tour of it. After a drive through the embassy circuit where we saw the embassies of many countries, we visited the Australian Art Gallery.   We saw the Picasso exhibit and got to vote for our favourite painting.  We went back to the hotel and after a swim in the pool and a workout in the gym we went to our room and ordered room service for dinner.  We ate while we watched Men In Black again!
On Sunday a family friend, Ica, picked us up and took us to see the dinosaur museum.   It was awesome.  In the museum was also an Aboriginal exhibit where we saw digeridoos, boomerangs, etc.  The we went to Covington Green, a miniature replica of an English village complete with a hedge maze and Stonehenge.  We took a ride on the miniature steam train which circled the village.  After lunch at Ica's we went to the Royal Australian Mint where we saw coins being made and a display of Australian money through the ages.  We bought an Olympic Gold Coin which commemorates the 2000 Olympics which will be held in Sydney.  Before we had to leave we visited the Questicon  at the Australian Science Museum.  The Questicon is a hands-on museum where one can actually see the effects of science.  Finally re rushed to catch our train.  After a pleasant and peaceful ride we returned home.


Timothy and Jeremy built rockets and launched them about 100 metres into the air.  Dominic got a high distinction in the State science test and a distinction in the State Maths test.  Matilda, the wonder dog, hurt her leg chasing birds and might need an operation.


Jeremy turned 8.  Dominic and Timothy turned 11. All have been doing very well in School.


As of June the Gurtos are now online.  Our email address is

We all hope you have a very Merry Christmas and a Happy and Prosperous 1999.
Love Joe, Frances, Dominic, Timothy, Jeremy and Matilda!


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Timothy, Jeremy and Dominic

 Merry Christmas from the Gurtos

"I have a list of folks I know
all written in a book.
And every year when Christmas comes,
I go and take a look.
And that is when I realize,
that these names are a part-
Not of the book they’re written in,
but of my very heart.
For each name stands for someone
who has crossed my path some time.
And at that meeting they’ve become
the rhythm in each rhyme.
So never think my Christmas cards are just a mere routine.
It’s because you’re on a special list
of what our friendship means.
And every year when Christmas comes,
I realise anew,
the best gift I can offer is
meeting folks like you.
And may the spirit of Christmas
that forever endures,
leave its richest blessings
in the hearts of you and yours.

With much love from,
Joe, Frances, Dominic, Timothy,
Jeremy and Matilda.


A trip to the US to visit family is always a fantastic event, and this year was no exception! Joe, Dominic and Timothy spent four weeks in June/July staying with my parents in Ohio. Before we arrived in Conneaut, though, we spent two nights in L.A. and a day at "The Happiest Place on Earth", Disneyland. Although the queues were long, the rides were worth the wait. Timothy enjoyed Space Mountain the best while Dominic preferred Snow White’s Scary Adventure. I had to hold his hand through the ride to keep him from screaming, though.
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Dominic and Timothy at Disneyland

Soon we were at the old homestead in Conneaut, Ohio. The boys enjoyed the freedom of no fences, bike riding, spending the day with cousins, not telling anyone where they were going and staying up late catching lightning bugs.

Thanks to the generosity of my cousin, Jim, who drove us almost everywhere, we were able to visit other interesting places. We attended two Cleveland Indians baseball games (against the Mariners which they won and against the Twins which they lost.) Although I haven’t seen a baseball game in years, in my humble opinion Cleveland could use a pitcher.
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Dominic, Timothy and Jim Speer at the Indians Game

We spent a day at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame which I had been looking forward to ever since it opened. I must say that it far exceeded my greatest expectations and I highly recommend it to all.

We also enjoyed the Great Lakes Science Center and all of the activities. It was right up the boys’ alley.

A visit to Amish country was a pleasant day out for the boys, my father and myself. It is about as far away from the city as one can get. Their simple lifestyle makes me yearn for those days of village squares, country markets, handicrafts and lazy afternoons.

The Fourth of July festival was a fun time for Dominic and Timothy as they endlessly rode the spinning rides and tried their hands at winning many fabulous prizes. It was another new experience of freedom to do whatever they wanted without my having to worry about where they were. A special treat at the festival was the amateur wrestling match that my brother Nick (Gurto 3:16) and his mate Anthony (Shane McMahon) organised with special appearances by Mark (Macho) and others.

Of course catching up with people is what I most anticipated and once again I was rewarded beyond my wildest expectations. Family members and friends that I haven’t seen in over 20 years were there. I even got a chance to have a few drinks with my old school mates. It was probably 25 years since we all were all in the same place and even though we missed Steve and Michael, it was as if no time had passed at all. (Except for the fact that three of them were passing around pictures of their grandchildren. I still can’t believe that!)

While I was at the library researching family information for the Gurto Family Webpage    I was fortunate to run into my old (sorry, Joe) Latin teacher whom I had been meaning to contact for years.

One minor accident (Dominic crashing a bike into a tree) resulted in a visit to the hospital but fortunately no serious injuries resulted.

My Grandmother was able to visit with us for three of the four weeks, having flown up to Ohio from Florida. This was quality time for Dominic and Timothy as they really got to know their Great-grandmother for the first time. Those memories will remain with them forever. Of course I especially treasure each visit I have with her and look forward to the next one.
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Timothy, Grandma Lorraine, Joe, Dominic
and Great-Grandma Edna

Family activities also highlighted the vacation. Meal invitations, dinners out, drinks by the pool, a graduation party, and cook-outs gave us the opportunities to visit once again and share old memories and quite a few laughs.

The culmination of the trip was, of course, the 28th Annual Gurto Family Reunion. This year’s reunion was hosted by my cousin David and his wife Barb and was nothing short of spectacular. As usual the tribes began to gather weeks before, and on the night before the reunion about 50 family members attended a pre-reunion party. Dozens of pizzas, desserts and drinks were consumed before the party ended at about 3:30 a.m. Dominic spent the night with about 20 or so of his cousins in a tent while Timothy opted for the comfort of a bed.

The family reunion itself was great; mountains of food and a wonderful turnout. 86 of the 128 descendants of Peter and Mary Gurto attended. All of my father’s siblings were there. It was a wonderful way to celebrate the end of the millenium and sadly, the end of our vacation. We left the next afternoon for our 32-hour trip back to Sydney, laden with souvenirs and many happy memories.


Jeremy and Frances were busy having fun back here in Australia. Jeremy had one week of school holidays and Frances took a week’s vacation and they packed in the activities. A day at Australia’s wonderland was filled with death defying rides, sweet treats and games of skill and chance.
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Jeremy, Timothy, Dominic and Frances in front of the Sydney
Opera House on Sydney Harbour

Another day saw them being swept away to a place and time "long, long ago and far far away" as they saw STAR WARS episode 1.

Jeremy learned information about chocolate at his visit to the Powerhouse Museum. He was rewarded with a free sample. He also learned about different machines and he spoke to different people on an interactive computer. Jeremy also got the opportunity to spend a lot of time with his best friend Chris. Each morning Frances would drop Jeremy off at Chris’ house on her way to work and then pick him up at 6:30 when she got home.

Jeremy had the advantage of having the computer all to himself during the four weeks that we were away and sharpened his skills on many of his favourite computer games and became quite proficient at sending emails.


All the boys were active with their tennis lessons each Saturday morning, Scouts on Wednesday nights and Ballroom Dancing on Thursdays. In the local ballroom dancing competition Dominic, Timothy and Jeremy came 1st, 2nd, and 3rd, respectively in their age groups. Dominic also won the perpetual trophy for the best overall score of the competition. Unfortunately both Dominic’s and Timothy’s partners quit this year and there aren’t quite enough girls to go around, hopefully there will be more next year. Frances and I haven’t been able to go much this year due to a sore foot (me) and a lack of a babysitter.

Jeremy’s Prayer

Holy Family School had a contest this year for writing the school prayer. We are proud to report that Jeremy won the contest with this entry.

Dear Lord,
We ask you to watch over all the people at Holy Family School as we strive to do our best.
Help us to be kind and caring towards others and become better Christians.
Bless our families, teachers and friends.
We thank you for the learning we will receive today.
No matter where we come from, help us to remember that
In Christ we live, love and learn.



A Collection of Poems by Timothy Gurto

"This symbolism of mankind’s journey through life is dedicated to my father, Joe Gurto, Jr., to remind him of the hardships and the hopes that he encountered in raising me."

-Timothy Gurto



The green figures on the ship row towards the bay
Feeding their hunger for knowledge with rations of truth.
Preparing for battle.
Rowing towards death;
The dolphins are gliding; swimming beside the ship:
Brave companions that never fail,
Accompanying them to the shore.

The flag raises for war; Guns fire;
Cannons shoot; Bombs explode:
And all is forgotten.
In the midst of time;
In the midst of corpses;
And the blood of brave warriors
Descends into the ground;
Into the ground from which it came.



I saw the peace of the Earth,
The gentle rhythm of life,
Her heart was beating,
Giving its life,
And all was good.

Then HE came:
The man of the Lord.
He was advanced,
And he advanced the Earth.

His modern society took over:
Took land,
And the plants.
And God saw that it was not good.

Through the ravages he sent out the spirit,
The spirit of the Earth.
The spirit of man.
The spirit of God.
Which calmed the Earth and put all evil right.

For the spirit is in the soul.
The will leads to the way.
Belief is what leads to a true hope
And a true hope is active in all of us.



Through pain he lives,
This old man;
A victim of his decrepit body,
Cursed with lost abilities,
Slow moving expressions
And signs of age.

But age is wisdom:
Gained through living
On and on…
Sprouting happiness,
Teaching, yet learning.

Learning the pains of life,
From a half remembered youth.
Not knowing whether to express
Happiness or sadness
When he leaves.

It’s Academic

Dominic and Timothy just finished year 6 on Dec. 8th. During the year they went on a school camp to Bathurst, a place called Hill End which is a gold mine. They learned about the Australian Gold Rush and tried their hand at panning for gold. Unfortunately they didn’t find enough to make me rich but maybe next time.

They both did extremely well academically, achieving high marks and distinctions in the State Mathematics, English, Science, Computer, and Religion examinations. They were both active in the school choir, the chapel choir, debating and public speaking. They were chosen to represent the school at the regional Junior Schools debating championships. Timothy was also a finalist in the Public Speaking competition.

Dominic and Timothy did an ABBA act at their annual variety night complete with white outfits and gold chains. The audience enjoyed singing along to Fernando and Mama Mia.

Dominic and Timothy also attended an enrichment weekend at their school where Timothy studied Ceramics and Science while Dominic studied woodworking and computer skills. Dominic also made his own website during the weekend.

Unfortunately he was unable to save his work and somehow all his efforts were deleted. He is not happy with the one he ended up with so when he improves it, we will let you know the address.

Jeremy just finished year 4 on Dec. 17th. Jeremy works very diligently and gets many accolades both on his academic abilities and on his behavior. During the past year Jeremy has done many projects. The projects were on historic buildings in the area (Jeremy’s was on a convent where his great aunt was a nun), Convicts in Parramatta, Cockroaches (did you know that a cockroach can live for nine days without a head? Then he dies of thirst), and a custom from another land, (Jeremy’s was on that little known American tradition, Thanksgiving). This just in: Jeremy won the year 4 prize for outstanding achievements in English!


During three weeks in October, we looked after Nigel, the son of a friend of ours who was sick. Nigel is 12 years old and nearly 6 ft. tall. It was strange having a fourth son and the boys enjoyed their temporary "brother"

It’s Party Time!

Jeremy had a bowling birthday party when he turned 9 in July.
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Jeremy's 9th Birthday

Dominic and Timothy had an ancient Roman vs. Egyptian water bomb battle at their Age of Empires birthday party when they turned 12 in September.

We will be having a New Year’s Eve Party.

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

Our pets

How can we talk about our family without mentioning our family pets, those lovable creatures that warm the cockles of our hearts.

We still have our dog, Matilda and we got 5 fish in February, one of them died and we replaced it. Consider them mentioned.
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Dominic and Matilda


-At Easter time we enjoyed our last Holiday at the "Holiday House" in Wamberal, up the coast before it was sold. It was sad leaving but we had 7 good years of happy memories behind us.

-Frances attended a management conference in Bowral and was spoilt by the spa in her room.

-Frances conducted training sessions on Australian tax reforms.

-Frances parents moved into a retirement village.


As we enter into a New Year, a new century, a new millenium, let’s leave behind all our bad feelings and grudges; our biases and petty annoyances…let’s forgive those who have trespassed against us.

Let us take with us our hopes and dreams, our sense of wonder and excitement, the memories of our loved ones and our faith and trust in God.

May the Christmas of 1999 be your best one yet. May the loving eyes of God watch over us all and keep us safe throughout the New Year.





As we get ready to enter a new millennium, we ask you to join us in taking time to remember those we love. God has given us the gift of memory; therefore they shall live in our hearts forever!

When we have joys and special celebrations we yearn to share, we remember them.

As we put up the Christmas decorations, we remember them.

As we decorate the Christmas tree, we remember them.

In the baking of the Christmas cookies, we remember them.

When we shop for and wrap the gifts, we remember them.

As we write our Christmas cards, we wish we could send them one.

When we hear Christmas carols being sung, we can hear them singing.

As the first snow falls, we remember them.

We see their faces in the smiles of our children, and we remember them.

As we go to church to celebrate the birth of Jesus, we remember them in our prayers.




Love Jim, David, Sharen, Greg, and Pam

Dec 6, 1999

Hi Everyone -

Do hope this finds all of you well and hard to believe the "Holidays" are here.  We had a wonderful Thanksgiving - everyone was here - Jan, Dave & Amanda flew from Texas & with everyone else had 18 here.  Not sure of Christmas yet, maybe well be at Patti's.

I'm busy trying to get the decorations out & Jim is busy in his workshop!  He has done well & takes it easy & knows his limitations.  We would never want a winter like we had last year.  Glad the surgery all went well - he keeps up with his back exercises, etc. & know that helps.

We have had a beautiful fall & so far no snow yet.  Today in the 60's but cloudy.

We had a great trip west this fall - went with my brother & wife & toured the Midwest - saw so much & so much history!  We were gone 6 weeks & spent the last 2 weeks in Texas with Jan & Dave.  It's all like a dream now & have lots of pictures and memories.

Have talked with different ones in Conneaut & guess all is OK.  We will be going up sometime thru the Holidays.  

We both wish you all a very Happy - Blessed, Holiday Season -

B-Ann & Jim



Merry Christmas from the Gurtos

Peace Prayer of St. Francis of Assisi
Lord, make me an instrument of your peace
where there is hatred, let me sow love;
when there is injury, pardon;
where there is doubt, faith;
where there is despair, hope;
where there is darkness, light;
and where there is sadness, joy.
Grant that I may not so much seek
to be consoled as to console;
to be understood, as to understand,
to be loved as to love;
for it is in giving that we receive,
it is in pardoning that we are pardoned,
and it is in dying that we are born to eternal life.

Merry Christmas from Joe, Frances, Dominic,
Timothy , Jeremy and Matilda (the dog)

Boom!   The popping confetti showered the guests as we welcomed in the New Century, 1900. Timothy entered the party draped with a sandwich board which heralded the headlines of the coming decade, "Roosevelt elected for another four years" "Wrights fly heavier-than-air plane" accompanied by the music of the first decade of the twentieth century.
It was 7:00 p.m., December 31, 1999 and we were counting down. Each half hour brought us another decade closer to the end of the century, the close of the millenium.  The headlines and the music carried us through the century and as we entered each new decade those born in that particular time were presented with a scroll that featured the events of the year that they were born.
Finally, at 11:58 p.m., Prince had just finished singing 1999.  We turned on the television in excitement and trepidation.  Would all the lights go out?  Would the computer systems of the world stop? Would we be plunged back into the dark ages?   Would the nuclear arsenal be released.  My cupboard was stocked with plenty of canned goods, bottles of water, batteries, candles and matches just in case.  The petrol tanks of both cars were filled to capacity.  3...2...1... HAPPY NEW YEAR!!
The fireworks exploded over Sydney Harbour without a hitch,  we toasted each other, we kissed each other.    We watched as the people of the world celebrated and watched the sun rise around the world. The world didn't  end.  The New Millenium was just beginning!  The future was ours! My computer still worked!

Travelling North

After a day of rest we piled into our van and headed up north for a 10 day holiday. We took our time as we didn't want to end up as a Holiday road statistic.We drove, we stopped , we revived.  We stopped for the night in Woolgoolga where we met up with some friends of ours.  We shared an Indian banquet and swam in the Ocean. The next morning we continued on our way.  We arrived at the tranquil surrounds of Mullumbimby, a place made for relaxation.  We stayed with our friends Ann and Terry and their little son, Patrick.  We went to the beach at Byron Bay and amazingly ran into someone that we knew.  We explored the town and the markets.  We waited for a parade and fireworks that never happened.
After two days we headed further north to the Gold Coast of Queensland.  We spent a day at Sea World enjoying the Dolphin Show, The Beneath the Sea Experience, and the Water Ski Spectacular!  We rode the many thrill rides such as the Corkscrew and the Bermuda Triangle and cooled off in the Beach area with the water slides and the swimming pools.
We spent a day and a half  visiting various friends and stopped again at Ann and Terry's on the way back.  Another night in Woolgoolga,  and another day's drive and we were back in Guildford.

by Timothy

As my brothers and I approach our adulthood, I realize a few things. Life isn't short, to start with, but the workforce spans only approximately 50 years, about half of a person's life. The time in which a person can earn money to buy food, a home, pay taxes, bills and possibly support a family is limited.

Therefore it can definitely be possible to be 'too old' to work, but I strongly believe that the exact opposite is both logical and possible.

Starting to work earlier than required, or at least having a strong idea of an ideal career at an early age is a sturdy base around which can be strengthened one's financial position in life.

An early start is the first step towards business taken by my brothers and I, in that we all are part of a software and entertainment firm, Novels Incorporated™, started and owned by us, in which Dominic and I are both computer programmers, conducting tests, enduring criticisms and definitely enjoying their jobs - the 'true meaning' of success - within Matilda and Laptop Studios respectively. We attempt to follow in the footsteps of the great game creators, Microsoft, Maxis, Hasbro, and being paid a full 75% royalties, tax free, and so we are very proud of our decisions so far.

Jeremy, on the other hand, is a part time programmer, but currently has his heart set on a clay animation comedy regarding World War II. Anansi Productions is playing a major role in his life.

Also, in the near future, in about 10 or so years, we all hope to fulfil our ideal occupations as adults.

I, for starters, would take pleasure in leading people to victory as a high quality lawyer. This job is one which I look forward to working within, as I believe that the pay would by good, and I am a convincing arguer. Dominic would rather be a dentist, while Jeremy prefers a teaching profession.

Hopefully, we will be continuing our reach towards a decent future, and, overall, be happy.

Our New Home

  With the year 2000 back in full swing, we decided the time was right.  Let's look around for a bigger house!
We had sought out houses in the past but this time we were serious.  After seeing a couple of houses we put ours on the market.  Then began our frantic search.   Would we find the right house?  Was the right house out there at all?   Would our house ever sell?  Would it sell too quickly?

Just when we had given up hope (actually I was just sick of looking) we found the house that had everything we wanted.  Plenty of space, a bedroom for each of the boys, a rumpus room AND a pool.  We signed on the dotted line within a week.   Then we began to panic.  We needed to sell our house.  Our settlement on the buying and selling of our houses happened on the same day, October 9.  Since then we have settled in very comfortably and our first Christmas in the new Campobasso was very enjoyable.

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Ever since Juan Antonio Samaranch announced "The Winner is Sid -a - ney" on September 23, 1993, the excitement was building. We watched as the buildings were erected.  We saw the old cattle yards of Homebush Bay being transformed into the most modern Olympic Village in history.  Everyone was gearing up and getting caught up in Olympic Fever and the Gurtos were no exception.  I had been working at the Olympic Stadium since February.  Many major sporting events and shows were held at the stadium and the experience prepared me for what was to be a fantastic five weeks.

I was fortunate enough to get a paid position supervising the volunteers at the Olympic Stadium, THE premier venue. Preparations started in June with my first interview.  Followed by another interview and four training sessions.  I got my accreditation which allowed me access to my work areas and my uniform which included shirts, pants, socks, jacket, hat, raincoat, drink bottle and hip bag.  I was able to practice twice before the actual event during the dress rehearsals for the opening ceremony. 

Only a few days before the Olympics started, we gathered with hundreds of others to watch the Olympic Torch relay as it passed just around the corner from our house.  We had monitored its progress since June when it arrived in Australia, watching the news with curiosity and interest as it passed through the cities and towns but as it approached our suburb and passed by us we felt as if we were part of it.  A glimpse of history passing by us for a few fleeting moments but in those moments our cheers and our shouts, our applause and our tears helped to propel the torch on its journey.

Then came the night I will never forget, September 14th (or was it the 15th?)  The crowd was lined up for hundreds of metres waiting for the gates to be opened. The signal was given, the gates went up and the crowd poured in.  People from all over the world wearing caftans and sarongs, saaris and turbans, sombreros and serapes, baseball caps and T-shirts entered the stadium with their brightly painted smiling faces carrying the flags of all the nations of the world.

I was there when the athletes entered. I cheered the Americans and the Australians.  I was there when the Olympic flag was raised and when the torch arrived into the stadium.  I was there when Cathy Freeman lit the  cauldron.  I walked amongst the hundreds of thousands each day as records were broken and history was made. We took the children to the Olympics on two of the days.  We saw the Australian Hockey team beat India.  We saw the American baseball team play Korea.  It was the bottom of the eighth, neither team had scored.  The Americans were up at bat, the bases were loaded.  We had two outs, two strikes and three balls. The American hit a grand slam!  We won 4-0.  I was there when Michael Johnson, Marian Jones and Cathy Freeman won their races.  I was there at the soccer final when Cameroon beat Spain.

Alas, I was also there when the flame was extinguished.  I remember walking to the station that night after the crowds had gone. What a change from the previous two weeks. It was a very cold September night.  The train was nearly empty except for a handful of workers and those that remained sat silently.  We had accomplished our goals successfully but how sad to see the end.

However, two weeks later we were again lifted as we worked the Paralympics.  It helped to soften the landing somewhat for those of us who had a hard time letting go.

Confirmation 2000

In June, Jeremy made his confirmation in  a spectacular fashion.   He was one of 50,000 children in the Sydney Diocese who were confirmed in the new Sydney Superdome. 
Although it is difficult to imagine how an event of such a large scale could be made sacred, it was. In the center of the floor were a candle , a vessel of water and a bowl of chrism, all greatly enlarged and framed by hundreds of red poinsettias. A huge wooden crucifix was suspended above.
A trumpet's call dramatically signaled the entrance of the Cardinal and the Bishops as the significance of each of these objects was explained.  As they took their places in the four corners of their area they were joined and flanked by 80  priests. An orchestra and a choir provided a heavenly background as the children proceeded to receive the Sacrament.  We watched as Jeremy and his Sponsor (his grandmother) walked into the center and was confirmed.  He returned to us stronger in faith and with a new name, Francis.  This is why we selected the Peace Prayer of St. Francis as our Christmas message this year.

Academically Speaking

Dominic and Timothy just completed year 7 and Jeremy completed year 5. This was Jeremy's first year at St. Patrick's College and he quickly adapted to the routine of trains and buses.  All performed very well academically, achieving top marks in many subjects.  Jeremy achieved the highest score in the Junior School (years 5 and 6) in the State Computer Test and Dominic received the highest score in the Secondary School (years 7 and 8) for the same test.  Timothy was awarded with an Honorable Mention in the Thomas Keneally writing awards. 
Their school participated with the other schools in the diocese in the Jubilee 2000 performance celebrating 2000 years since Christ's birth.  Jeremy was a member of the Choir and there was an audience of 110,000 school children.  This was held in the Olympic Stadium and was akin to the Opening Ceremony as it featured over 2000 performers and involved quick scene changes. 
The boys all attended School Camps, Jeremy at Illawarra Shores and Dominic and Timothy at Camp Somerset.  Although Jeremy had great fun with his talkative group, enjoying archery, orienteering, and bike riding ( a skill which he developed just in the nick of time) and he enjoyed the food, he admitted to being just a bit homesick and was glad to be home when it was over.
After a long, comfortable, scenic bus ride, Dominic and Timothy got stuck into archery, raft building, abseiling, cooking, orienteering and a wide range of night activities.   Timothy was voted the best in the group and he and Dominic both received letters of commendation on their behaviour at the camp.
Jeremy did projects on Greece and Time, in which he developed a calendar.  Dominic and Timothy created games, money boxes, fantasy egg cups and and a class newspaper.


Since we were moving the boys ended their extracurricular activities early.  They were still involved in Scouts, Altar serving, Tennis, Ballroom Dancing and Swimming Lessons. 
Frances and I had no spare time.

By the Way

We now have TEENAGERS in our house as Timothy and Dominic turned 13 in September. 
Jeremy also entered the double digits as he turned 10 in July.
The fish and Matilda are still alive. 
Between buying the house and the Olympics and moving we decided to take a weekend away and went down to the South Coast of New South Wales just to get away from the stress.
We did a bit of entertaining since moving in October by celebrating the boys' birthdays with a pool party in November, inviting our friends to Thanksgiving, having a housewarming/Christmas/Frances' birthday party in December and hosting Christmas Lunch for the Vaughan family.
We also enjoyed a very pleasant evening dining and dancing while cruising Sydney Harbour at Frances' firm's Christmas party.

God Bless all of you and may 2001 be a wonderful year for us all!!