Heiser Christmas Letter 1988

Dick’s Teaching

This year, I’ve been excited about new teaching assignments. Integrated Computer Systems has sent me out often to teach short courses on data communications and on user interfaces for interactive software. Last Spring, I started looking for a full-time teaching position.

I found a really impressive magnet high school in downtown Los Angeles, but at the same time was invited to teach computer graphics and computer-aided design at Northrop University, a local technical college. Teaching college courses has been a big surprise and pleasure. Since I’m not a “doctor,” they call me “professor.” What an ego stroke!

Two possible computer projects for next year are: writing a book or course about using research computer networks, and programming the language translator I mentioned in last year’s newsletter. The NeXT computer, announced in October, is an exciting step up in power, and I can hardly wait to get one.

Catholic Worker

I’m spending Wednesday evenings at the Catholic Worker community house as well as Saturdays at the soup kitchen. They’re a wonderful group, interested in many causes, including protecting farm workers from pesticides, eliminating the death penalty, and supplying information about AIDS prevention, in addition to direct action against the nuclear arms race.

The Catholic Worker gives me an experience of harmony, love, effectiveness and mutual appreciation. By contrast, the Great Peace March had a political rather than a spiritual basis, which prevented marchers from appreciating each other fully. The Catholic Worker continually manifests its spiritual values. For example, they found a way to deal with the October ’87 earthquake damage without seeking government grants.

Free Offer

What could be better than nuclear disarmament? World government, as described in Planethood by Ben Ferencz. I’ll be glad to send you a copy of the book. We also have copies of The Great Peace March by Franklin Folsom and Connie Fledderjohann.

Also, consider borrowing the six-hour videotape of Bill Moyers’ The Secret Government, the Christic Institute programs The Secret Team and The Shadow Government, and a documentary Peace in Guatemala .

Loretta’s Message

Last year I entitled my personal journal “Second Year on Corning Avenue,” but read somewhere that it was important to title such personal vignettes with the most powerful image possible and therefore added the subtitle, “Becoming My Dream.” This last year has been an unfolding of that potential, thanks to the encouragement and support of Dick and the other members of our family.

As a cellist, I’ve been networking with other musicians and have created more playing and teaching opportunities. I am pleased that I have six paying engagements over the Christmas season. How fun to revive the holiday spirit by playing the old English Carols, Handel’s Messiah , Vivaldi and Vaughan Williams!

I’ve had to re-think my beliefs equating success with the amount of money earned, because my “earning power” has been rather lean this past year. But I see definite growth as a musician. Between arranging music, creating promotional material, talking with prospective clients, rehearsing with three on-going groups, private practice, teaching, giving cello demonstrations at local schools, and performing, I am happily productive.

We aren’t the only ones busy creating. On October 17, Mary Lou and Bennett gave birth to Ryan Earl Rheingold. He is a welcome addition to the family and has many adoring fans. Bennett has undertaken an equal amount of diaper-changing and middle of the night wake-up routines, and Mary Lou has my vote as being the most graceful, natural mother both in pregnancy and adjusting to all the changes during and after delivery. I’m refinishing an old cedar chest so that Ryan will have a perfect place for toys on the porch. He'll be more interesting to me when he gets curious about the world. Until then, I get more satisfaction watching and playing with the cats.

One of the insights I’ve experienced over the year is that often what I thought I was “doing” for others, was really for my own benefit, and therefore it was pointless to give myself credit for being helpful. Conversely, what I thought I was “doing” for my own benefit, I discovered later, was not for me alone. I was only part of a larger picture.

Whether our creations take the form of an idea, a business venture, a child, or a personal relationship, I believe it’s not the form, but content that matters. If we create out of fear, the creation perpetuates fear; if we create out of love, the creation extends love. I wonder if it would help me to entitle next year’s journal “Love is all there is.”

We wish you peace and love in the coming year!

-Dick and Loretta