December 2012

Dear Family and Friends,

We hope that you are well, and not feeling too stressed by the seasonal rush to get ready for the holidays.  One of the “joys” of my car accident many years ago that left me unable to get around easily was the need to slow down.  I learned to take the time to admire the beauty of fall colors, and today was one of those beautiful fall days in Southern California.

This was a year of big changes for Jenk and me.  The two biggest changes were that I retired from teaching after 27 years at Saugus High School, and a total of 35 years of professional work, and Jenk’s years of solitary retirement ended with me being home more.  (He says that I have disrupted his “schedule” but says it with a smile.)    Another change was the starting of a non-profit corporation with some former host parents and friends.  Our mission is to support exchange programs, especially the exchange with China that we set up 8 years ago.  The program has been run “on a shoestring” over these years, but in order to keep the program going after my retirement we needed to do something.  Santa Clarita International Exchange, Inc. (with me as “president”) ran an 18-day English Immersion Summer Camp for 28 Chinese students and teachers in July.  We hired teachers, rented rooms and buses and organized all kinds of activities, trips to Disneyland, Universal etc.  We also had the support of over 20 host families.  The whole process was a giant leap of faith since it was all so new, but at the end of the summer program our non-profit is now supporting the regular school-year incoming program and helping to finance the group of students who will be heading to China next summer. 

When not taking care of the finances of SCIE, serving on two home-owner boards and being chairman of the finance committee at church Jenk still enjoys his genealogy research.  He also goes on daily walks with a friend, and helps around the house.  But we both especially enjoyed welcoming my German “sister” Margit (who lived with us from 1968-9) when she and her friend visited us this summer.  Two other trips included visiting my Aunt Peggy and cousins in Washington state in January and a road trip to Oregon in October.  It was great to be able to travel when others are working!   Also this fall we have hosted “Raymond” from China.  He will be returning home at the end of the year.

Both “kids” are doing well in their professional lives.  Marc continues to teach all the honors and AP Chemistry classes at Saugus High School, as well as being a JV basketball coach.  This fall he joined a new gym and has spent many hours getting in better physical shape.   He is also on the negotiating team of the teacher’s association in our district.  Beth got a new job this summer at a company that does experiential marketing for luxury automotive clients and moved to San Diego.  She was ready for a change and is earning more money, but there was another good reason for moving – to be closer to a very special young man – Nathan, who also lives in San Diego.  He is a terrific guy!

Although I try to keep these letters brief, I want to share with you one of the best days of my life that took place in June.  Some friends, parents of former students and former students organized a surprise party for me.  I was “tricked” into going into the multi-purpose room at school to discover a room full of people.  There were slide shows and movies made by former students who were unable to be present, parents read letters from their kids, and I saw former students, some of whom I hadn’t seen in many years.  Even now I am amazed how they contacted so many people.  It was the perfect culmination of a teaching career.

And to keep the adventures going Jenk and I will be heading to China at the end of January.  We will experience the celebration of their “Spring Festival” (that we call Chinese New Year) which is a bit like a combination of Christmas, Easter, Thanksgiving and Halloween all rolled into one big event.)

We wish you all a blessed Christmas and a wonderful new year!  We all feel blessed to have you in our lives.  May 2013 be a year of peace for all.


Jenk, Patty, Marc, Beth