To our good friends.
Season greetings to you all! Our Christmas letter last year ended with "What's the saying? "May you live in interesting times"? I'd like 2017 to be a little less "interesting," please." I think we know how that turned out. 2017 has been perhaps the most "interesting" year I've experienced in my history and as we start 2018, we are poised on the brink of a nuclear war thanks to two immature leaders who want to play "chicken" with their nuclear toys. It is very scary. Add to that the many revelations of the dark side of long-admired celebrities and it's all I can do to get through the evening news without crying.
But amidst the turmoil, we aim for peace and it was pretty peaceful this year. Walt continues to volunteer with Citizens Who Care and enjoys an evening usually twice a month with a friend who has mobility problems so his wife can meet with her knitting group. I have given up volunteering at both the hospital and the book store and am giving my "volunteer time" to my mother.
We moved her into memory care, a locked facility, where she has 24/7 care and they take care of everything from giving her her medications to doing her laundry. It was a huge change for me and a big load off of my mind. I'm still there several times a week and it is very sad to watch her continuing decline. She turned 98 in September, but can never remember how old she is and still wonders how her mother is and where her siblings are. She wakes up every morning not knowing where she is and can't find her way from the dining room to her room without assistance (a distance of a few yards). I miss my mother and wish I could talk to her.
I think our best day was the day Ned arranged for a picnic in a rose garden near his house. She still loves flowers and Ned packed a great lunch. The weather was beautiful and we had a wonderful day.
Ned is doing a lot of freelance work these days and spent the last couple of months helping organize a charity concert, raising funds for a local animal shelter.
After working at Folsom Prison for awhile, Marta was thrilled to get a job as a training officer for the California Victim Compensation Program (CalVCP). She is now close enough to work that she can ride her bike again. She also recently had her hair cut short, for the first time in years.
Jeri continues all her regular activities. She recently gave a concert at Berklee that we were able to watch streaming from Boston. Phil's years with his charge, a young man with cerebral palsy, ended when the young man aged out of the program. He is now working in a different program in the school system.
Tom recently moved his office to his house, as he is now the only member of his company that has not moved to Boston, but things seem to be working out fine. Laurel is busy these days. Among other things, she is her bank's Cyber Security Expert and specializes in Elder Financial Abuse. She also recently filled us in on the problems of marijuana growers and the money they take in....where can they legally put it?
The girls play soccer and softball. Brianna is learning trumpet and Lacie is learning cooking. Both girls are avid readers and Brianna just started a book club with all of her adult relatives, reading the Narnia books. Our meetings are maybe the most fun thing I've done this year. She's a surprisingly competent leader.
Walt and I have seen between 50 and 60 shows this year. We are always at the theater! In the spring we had a visit from Caroline, from Guernsey, daughter of Jane who stayed with us when she was her daughter's age. Caroline was attending courses at the UC vet school and was a lovely guest.
I'm afraid I don't feel merry or jolly this holiday season. My concern for my mother fights with my concern for the country and both make me very very sad -- or very angry. But I hope that you guys have a wonderful Christmas/Hanukah/Kwanza/Solstice or whatever it is that you may want to celebrate. No matter how depressed I am, I am always grateful to have such wonderful friends.
Walt and Bev
And all our sponsored children through Compassion, International:
and Fred (Philippines), Henrique and Karya (Brasil), Estiben