To our friends and family: Greetings!                     

Christmas 2007
 2007 was mostly quiet, but we got a new granddaughter, and got Kateri graduated and shipped off to Madagascar.

    Leo and his wife Katie's two year old Avery is now a big sister to Annika Paige, born January 24th. In February, everyone took turns helping out the little family.  Now they are always on the go and even visited Marieke in Boston last summer. We are lucky to see them at least once a month.

    Jan-Luc has been continuing a life of intrigue in New York City. Developing new film projects has filled his time along with writing a screenplay with a friend. For the complete blog head to Null Set Films. See his film that was chosen for showing at the Brooklyn Historical Society! Write him at janlucvd at or janlucvd at

    Marieke had another great year in the greater Boston area, despite spending most of her free time writing her master's thesis. She graduated from the Harvard University Extension School with a degree in Museum Studies in November, shortly after getting her dream job at the Bostonian Society. Working out of the Old State House Museum in downtown Boston, she is in charge of the Society's museum collection. Over the course of the year she vacationed in Chicago, Rochester and Rhode Island and entertained visitors from Rochester and London. Both the happiest and saddest event of the year was spending "Sibling Week" with the family in May before Kateri left for Africa. Email her at mariekevd at and pay a visit to Boston!

Kateri graduated from LeMoyne in May, and soon after she joined the Peace Corps. After two days training in Washington, DC, she flew to Madagascar for two months of living with a host family and training in the Malagasy language and culture.  August 28th she was sworn into the Peace Corps on their national TV. 

She is now in Mandritsara, Madagascar, teaching English for two years. Madagascar is that big island off the Southeast coast of Africa:

 She has electricity for part of the day, no running water, no Internet or land-line telephone. We can sometimes call her cell phone and text her, however. She has a blog which describes her activities, but due to “security procedures” you have to write to Marieke (or us, then we'd send it to Marieke) to get allowed in. Here's where to write her:

Kateri Van Damme
Lycee Victor Miadana
Mandritsara 415 Madagascar

    Mary Margaret still is the Director of the Syracuse Diocese’s Deaf Ministry with all the varied jobs imaginable.  This year’s work-trips included an ice storm in San Antonio, TX,  the March For Life in DC, and “NCYC” in  Columbus, OH.  (Jim is invited along, but turns them down for some reason. Spare time is spent in genealogical research  and gardening - resulting this year in a bountiful harvest: of Windsor “Allen” and Chicago “Fox” relatives and edible delights.

    So our nest is empty except for MC, our old deaf cat. Jim still works at the Air Force Research Lab (actually, he retired from Civil Service in 2004 and works for a small company). He tends our garlic patch, and websites for St. Mary’s Church, MM’s Deaf Community, and our Natural Family Planning site. He sings in St. Mary’s choir and will be going to Ireland next April with them (MM will be taggin’ along!). We scouted out places in Rhode Island  for the Van Hout 2008 Reunion, and took our usual trip to Detroit, where we saw Jim‘s brother, John’s family (from Seattle) including newest grand-nephew, Piet & Kimberly’s James David Van Damme.  At Easter, we were visited by Diana Mary & John Vollmayer. Our niece Jeni (VD) & her husband Chris & their daughter Alysa have moved close to us…less than 2 hours away, near Fort Drum. Nice! They visited for Labor Day and Thanksgiving.

     E-mail us at vandamme at (no forwards or hoaxes, please), and have a look at the rest of our website. True Van Damme fans will be further entertained by our "Best Photos of 2007" page!

    We hope you are healthy and happy. Best wishes for 2008!

Jim, Mary Margaret/Tunkin, Leo & Katie & Avery & Annika, Jan-Luc, Marieke,  and “Miss Kateri”

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