|To all our friends
and family, Greetings!
This year's news actually started just after our last Christmas Letter. Leo and friends threw a massive Christmas party called the Holly Jolly , during which Leo proposed to Kathleen Kalinowski, who accepted. The wedding is May 25, 2002, Memorial Day weekend, in Rochester, NY. They both live in Rochester where Kathleen works in Human Services and as a Youth Minister, and Leo continues to represent a window hardware company when traveling out on the East coast. He also ran a marathon last Spring just for kicks. Write him at leovandamme (at) yahoo.com
In January Marieke joined Americorps*VISTA and moved out to Sitka, Alaska. She is doing adult education, National Park Service, eagle watching, mountain climbing, and hunting with her camera. Of course, MM, Jim and Kateri had to go visit her, so in August we took a cruise up the Inside Passage. It included stops in Seattle, where Jim's brother John lives, and Vancouver, where MM's friend Connie lives, so we had a good time. Unfortunately, when we got to Juneau, the weather was so bad that we couldn't proceed to Sitka, so Marieke flew to Haines to visit with us. She is coming home for Christmas, but after her year is up in Alaska, her plans are uncertain. Write her at mariekevd (at) yahoo.com. Perhaps she will give you the URL of her many pictures of Alaska on her Snapfish site.
Jan-Luc still travels around NYC working in the production department of several feature movies, TV, documentaries and commercials. In a feat of good timing, he temporarily moved back "Upstate" in early September, thus missing the attack on NYC. He moved back to Brooklyn and is building a loft in his apartment while editing a feature film he produced last summer called "Porch Guys". Write him at janlucvd (at) yahoo.com.
Kateri enjoys 11th grade at RCH (Rome Catholic High School). This year she was confirmed, and spent a while as a Counselor at Camp Nazareth. She also attended a week-long workshop called Christian Leadership Institute in early summer, followed by a trip to Michigan to see the relatives. In August, she worked backstage at the musical George M, and also went to another week-long workshop, Teen Institute, a program for students that have been voted "Peer Leaders" by their classmates. Kateri still takes Irish Dance, and in April went to her first Feis (a dance competition) where she won two silver medals for her reel and jig. Yet again, she's on the Youth Council for the Diocese of Syracuse and will also be a rep for the Diocese in Indianapolis, Indiana for the National Catholic Youth Conference December 6-9. She'll be on some "Congress" but doesn't really know what she'll be doing on that yet.
Mary Margaret has survived another year as the Director of the Catholic Deaf Community of the Syracuse Diocese. Wonderful people, interesting activities, lots of travel, and something new everyday!
In August, Kateri's guinea pig Smo died. She was five years old (pretty old for a guinea pig). She was well loved and we miss her. Jim and MC the cat haven't been doing much. Jim got to visit his dad in May when he got a hip replacement.
This year's Holly Jolly will be Dec. 22 at the VFW in Rome. Are you coming?
Keep in touch! E-mail us at vandamme(at)juno.com. Don't forget to have a look at the rest of our web site for pictures and news. It gets updated every blue moon. Well, at least twice a year.
We hope you are healthy and happy.
Best wishes for 2002!