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From our Family to Yours

From Our Family to Yours,

Merry Christmas 2006


    We gathered together to ask the Lord’s blessing and eat a lot of turkey, stuffing, and pies a week ago, this growing family of ours.  Tradition requires a group portrait.  Here you have it, along with a smaller “solarized” version so that I could show off a new-found skill with Photoshop 7.


            All of us, everyone of us, across the generations, men and women, adults and children, even the two little dogs, wish you the merriest of Christmases, hoping that somewhere amid the celebrations we might touch base with you in person (best), by phone, or mail (E type or regular). 


            Here’s a rundown on what’s up with our cast of characters, one through eighteen, omitting, of course, thirteen (no Judas among us!).

1.     Steve Curtis, instrumental music teacher in Southborough MA elementary schools, trombonist, composer of arrangements for children’s ensembles, husband of Kathryn (whom he prefers to name “Kate”), Dad to Alanna and Sohani.

2.     Kathy (nee Howard) Curtis (our preferred appellation), massage therapist, yoga instructor, super-clean manager of a suburban household, Steve’s wife, fulltime Mom to Alanna and Sohani.

3.     Sohani Dion Curtis, the eighth, latest and likely the last of the Howard grandchildren, sixteen months of endless vitality, with a vast repertoire of facial expressions to show her happiness, surprise, and displeasure.

4.     Barbara Howard, matriarch, fresh from celebrating 50th year reunions at Colby and Barnard, inveterate concert-goer (more than 50 this season), household manager for the five of us at 75 Fox Chase Lane, the one who almost daily wonders at “how lucky we are.”

5.     Jessica Mahoney, first year (!) student at Williams College and loving it, studying Chinese, thinking of majoring in political science, high soprano in “Good Question,” big little sister to three brothers.

6.     Ben Mahoney, fifth grader at Pot Springs School, probably going on to St. Paul’s Prep in his brothers’ footsteps, Brett Favre’s best fan, articulate beyond his years, the youngest of the Mahoney four.

7.     Gwen (nee Howard) Mahoney, faction (that is, fact-based fiction) novelist struggling with the commercial rut of the publication industry, harpist, household manager of a very busy household and an extensive property, test correcter for Calvert home-schooling curricula, Brian’s wife, Mom to three teenagers and one almost teenager.

8.     Jack Mahoney, six feet and growing, long limbed like Derek Jeter, sporting a new brush cut, ninth grader at St. Paul’s School, excellent student, oft-times forgetful but always thoughtfully trenchant.

9.     Teddy Mahoney, yorkiepoo, ten years old, ever the cuddler in Gwen’s lap, Tappy’s playmate and older cousin, a charming gentleman except for his bad breath.

10. Craig Mahoney, junior at St. Paul’s, soon to begin the college search endeavor, leaning toward liberal arts with an emphasis on music, guitarist with his own group doing gigs, tennis court cleaner, top student, perfectionist.

11. The old man, Pa, Poppy, Dad, Bob, CCRWH, about whom you already know too much.

12. Tappy Carnes-Howard, three year old bichon friese with a large vocabulary, food-obsessed, recovering itchaholic recently with a cone around her head, Pa’s little girl, Betsy’s playmate, the twins’ favorite resident at 75 Fox Chase.

13. Omitted because of the Last Supper experience.

14. Henry D. Carnes IV, still sporting an Einstein, ninth grader at Hall High, electronics maven, excellent student, trumpeter, taco and low mein aficionado, with an insatiable curiosity about anything that has gears or explodes.

15. Robert Carnes, curly haired freshman at Hall High, excellent student in advanced courses, forever on the Internet on games with other players around the world, Christmas decorator with a tendency toward the garish, encyclopedic memory for sports trivia, saxophonist.

16. Alanna Curtis, five year old kindergarten student with an insatiable appetite for learning (grandma reports), independent, bright, charming, still favoring pink and purple and all things princessy.

17. Betsy Howard Carnes, supremely Mom to her twin boys, their tutor, their cook and chauffeur, their Gal Friday, a swift and productive artist for everyone, including Asylum Hill Congregational Church, permanent substitute teacher at Bugbee School, like her sisters, a great lady.

18. Brian Mahoney, last but by no means least, partner in Calvert Street Capital Partners (look him up on the internet at, Gwen’s husband, Dad to a growing family, recovering from a badly shattered ankle injured playing basketball last spring, fund-raiser for his 25th Reunion Class at Williams College, international golfer, and all-round good guy.


The weight of the world presses heavily upon us in this moment (as it probably has ever since the dawn of human consciousness).  Thank God for family, friends, neighbors, the church and every institution that creates community, for helping us lift the burden, sometimes joyfully and, thanks to the young among us, with hope.


Barbara and Bob Howard          

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