Christmas Cards, Letters and Messages
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.
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.
BY THE WAY
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.
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.
WORK! WORK! WORK
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!
Merry Christmas to all from the Gurtos
May the peace of the Lord be with you
OUR FAMILY HOLIDAY
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
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.
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.
OUR NEW SCHOOL
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.
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.
MY TRIP TO
BY THE WAY
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.
Merry Christmas from the Gurtos
"I have a list of folks I know
With much love from,
A VISIT TO THE OLD COUNTRY
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 Whites Scary Adventure. I had to hold his hand through the ride to
keep him from screaming, though.
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 havent seen a baseball game in years, in my humble opinion
Cleveland could use a pitcher.
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 havent 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 cant believe that!)
While I was at the library researching family information for the Gurto Family Webpage
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.
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 years 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 fathers 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 weeks vacation and they packed in
the activities. A day at Australias wonderland was filled with death defying rides,
sweet treats and games of skill and chance.
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.
IN OUR SPARE TIME
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 Dominics and Timothys partners quit this year and there arent quite enough girls to go around, hopefully there will be more next year. Frances and I havent been able to go much this year due to a sore foot (me) and a lack of a babysitter.
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.
A Collection of Poems by Timothy Gurto
"This symbolism of mankinds 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."
The green figures on the ship row towards the bay
The flag raises for war; Guns fire;
I saw the peace of the Earth,
Then HE came:
His modern society took over:
Through the ravages he sent out the spirit,
For the spirit is in the soul.
Through pain he lives,
But age is wisdom:
Learning the pains of life,
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 didnt 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 (Jeremys 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, (Jeremys was on that little known American tradition, Thanksgiving). This just in: Jeremy won the year 4 prize for outstanding achievements in English!
MY FOUR? SONS
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"
Its Party Time!
Jeremy had a bowling birthday party when he turned 9 in July.
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 Years Eve Party.
Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!
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.
BY THE WAY
-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, lets leave behind all our bad feelings and grudges; our biases and petty annoyances lets 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.
HAPPY 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.
OUR CHRISTMAS WISH FOR YOU AND YOUR FAMILY: WE HOPE YOU ARE ABLE TO SPEND THIS SPECIAL SEASON SURROUNDED BY ALL THOSE YOU LOVE, IF NOT IN PERSON, THEN IN MEMORIES!
Love Jim, David, Sharen, Greg, and Pam
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 -
Merry Christmas from the Gurtos
Peace Prayer of St. Francis of Assisi
Merry Christmas from Joe, Frances, Dominic,
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 HomeWith 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.
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.
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
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.
IN OUR SPARE TIME
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.
By the Way
We now have TEENAGERS in our house as Timothy and
Dominic turned 13 in September.