The Garstang Family Page

Last updated November 28, 2005

About Us:






Other Pages by David:

Coins and History

Violin Stuff


Other Pages by Rachel:

Rachel's Own Page (from middle school days)


See our Home Sweet Home


 DAVID Hi! I'm the dad. I'm also the novice web site designer who put this page together. I'm into a few things, such as:

 Being a Dad: OK, my girls are now all grown up and out of the house, but I still don't have grandkids, so I continue to treasure my rainbow "DAD" cup that Rachel got for me maaaaaany years ago ....

 Musical Theater: I was the latecomer to drama in the family, but after my youngest daughter got us involved at Patio Playhouse through their marvelous "Youtheatre" program, I was recently honored to be given the lead in their adult performance of "The Pajama Game".  I've been the vocal coach for a terrific Jewish youth musical theater group, and still do some individual coaching.

 Collecting Dead Emperors: Also known by the more prosaic name of "Ancient Coin Collecting, with focus on the Roman Imperial Era". I've managed to put together a (mostly low-grade but still cool) sequence of portrait coins  of the first 49 Roman emperors, as well as a specialty collection of coins pertaining to ancient Judaean history. To learn more about my collecting "habit", click the title of this section. Or you can go directly to a truly excellent ancient-coin site by Kevin Barry.

 Writing: When I grow up, I want to be a professional fiction writer.  So far, I've written some SF short stories, poetry, and the occasional essay in my "copious free time". I'm about 1/3 of the way through my first novel, which I started 20 years ago.

 Skiing: We got dragged on a ski trip about seventeen years ago by some friends. For a while, I was skiing several times a year, dragging the family up to Snow Summit and/or Mountain High, but after Rachel went off to CU Boulder and I learned what REAL Colorado Skiing was like, I try to visit Rachel periodically during ski season as a thinly-veiled excuse to work in a ski trip to Eldora or Arapahoe Basin.

 Violin Playing: A few years back, Uncle Lou moved to Florida, but left his violin here with us.  Well, despite lots of "good advice" to the contrary, I decided to take some lessons, and I've made surprisingly good progress for someone of my "mature" years -- I'm to the point where people no longer run from the room holding their ears when I play!

 Barbershop Chorus and Quartet Singing: I have directed two mid-sized choruses, and have sung in a number of competitive and performing quartets over the past 45 years, collecting two District championships and three International bronze medals in the process. I took an extended leave of absence because barbershopping is hard for a father to share with daughters. I did keep my hand in by putting together an informal Jewish-themed group called "The Mensch Tones", but I also ended my hiatus after my girls left home, and I am about to start up as the director of the "San Marcos Music Men", and I'm singing in a competitive quartet named "Behind the Barn"..

 The Garstang Family Singers: We've put together a variety musical act, which performs on occasion for worthy causes, including local nursing homes, barbershop shows, and charitable organizations.  My roles were: 1) Play guitar; 2) Sing; 3) Talk on stage; 4) Bug everyone else to practice. But with one daughter in the San Francisco Bay area and the other in Colorado, we rarely find opportunities to perform together any more, sniff ...

MARLENE is the Mom. She's currently into:

 Educational Technology: She has earned a Master's in this field from San Diego State University, hauling down a very impressive 4.0 GPA, and is doing part-time consulting and contract work in the field.

 Getting Into Shape: She's setting a fine example (which I'm steadfastly ignoring)!

 Being a Mom: She wanted me to mention that this is her "single most important role." Because of this, she was a part-time student at SDSU, and waited until her youngest was in Kindergarten before seeking work.

The Garstang Family Singers: Marlene is an excellent piano player, and she sings pretty good, too! She usually opens the act with a lively rendition of "The Maple Leaf Rag".  She sings (including a duet with me on "Jamaica Farewell") and provides accompaniment. I'm also hoping to talk her into polishing up one or more of her impressive piano performance pieces to add to the act.

JENNY is the Big Sister. She's currently into:

 College Life! Sometime when I wasn't looking, she grew up!  After maintaining an alarmingly good GPA in High School, she got accepted to the University of Southern California (USC), among others.  USC was her final choice because it's a phenomenal school that doesn't try to "pigeonhole" the students too early.  It didn't hurt that they offered her some healthy scholarships, and that it's closer to home than the other contenders.  Jenny has taken to college life like a fish to water.  She's loving the academic challenge, has made many friends, and (could it be?) she has even found a pretty serious boyfriend!

 Performing Arts:  Jenny continues to work on her harp playing, and is building up her repertoire in preparation for earning extra money as a paid harpist.  She will be taking voice lessons through the USC music department starting Winter, 2006, and is strongly considering either a musical theater or music performance (voice) minor.   This will also give her access to classes on her other musical passion, composition.

 Writing: Jenny has finished her first novel, and is looking for a publisher.  Meanwhile, she's already got plans for her next work, a really intense trilogy.  She is also a poet, and in her younger days was honored in the "Border Voices" program by having her poem published in that year's anthology and being invited to publicly read it at the annual gathering. While there, she was inspired to write several new poems, one of which got noticed by Jack Webb, an editor of the San Diego Union; he wrote an article about it for the August, 1999 issue of San Diego Writer's Monthly.

 Karate: Jenny continues to take Karate lessons, time permitting.

The Garstang Family Singers: When in town, Jenny is still one of the stars of the family act.  She is a "triple threat", with her dynamite singing, superb harp playing, and performance of her own compositions. If I'm good, she rewards me by allowing me to sing a duet with her ...

RACHEL is the Little Sister. She's currently into:

 Hebrew School: Rachel is working toward her Bat Mitzvah at Temple Adat Shalom, which is scheduled for 2007.

 Middle School: She's on the advanced math track, and is really into science, percussion (in band), and Egyptian history!

 Dancing: She's a "natural".  The most recent addition to her skills is belly dancing, a style for which she has shown a rather alarming (to her father) talent.

Percussion: Rachel's recently acquired musical passion involves banging things with sticks.  (She hates it when I say that ...)  She has signed up as one of the percussionists for her middle school band, and is really enjoying it!  She wants to continue with flute too, but drumming and playing the bells are her main musical endeavors at the moment.

The Garstang Family Singers: Rachel has been a part of the family act since before she could sing, charming the audiences with her rendition of the poem "Mice".  Now, though, she's developed into an excellent singer, knocking them dead with Pop classics like "Bobby's Girl" and musical theater hits like "Castle On a Cloud" (Les Miserables).  We're still trying to figure out how to work her new love of percussion into the act.

THE MENAGERIE -- the various creatures that enrich our lives:

 Precious: Our oldest surviving cat, a long-haired silver tabby, she was adopted several years ago from the (now no longer existent) Rancho Bernardo Petco.  Originally shy and aloof, she has mellowed with age, and has now become quite affectionate.

 Coco: Our beautiful Balinese (long-haired Siamese) has gone on "extended walkabout".  He has always been one to sneak out for a few days of carousing, but he's now been gone since early October (2005).  We've checked the shelters and put up posters throughout the neighborhood, but we're starting to suspect it may be permanent.  We miss him very much!

 Shasta: For Jenny's 16th birthday (November 15, 2003), we let her drive us out to the Helen Woodward Animal Center.  While there, we met a wonderfully sweet medium sized black dog.  I hadn't really wanted a dog, but the girls had been asking for a long time.  Another couple who had arrived just after us had shown interest in him, so I suggested that there was really no reason to wait since we'd already found the "best of all possible dogs".  He continues to grow more loving every day, and we have never regretted bringing him home that same evening.

 Kiwi: Our parrotlet (a tiny green parrot smaller than a parakeet) Kiwi packs a huge personality into a tiny little body.

 Shyiina: When Rachel's hamster passed away from old age, I suggested we check out rats.  I remember my own, from my childhood, with much fondness.  They are highly affectionate, intelligent, and very hardy.  So now we have invited Shyiina into our home, and she has fit right in!



So that's us, for now. If you found this fascinating, well, no comment. But feel free to drop in any time! For comments, suggestions, or just to say, "hi", we can be reached at (This address will change whenever the SPAM level gets too high, so check back here for a new address if it stops working)

Thanks for stopping by!


Want us to contact you with more information?

First Name:*
Last Name:*
Email Address:*
* Required fields