Christmas 2002                                                                                                    December 2002

What a year!  As we reminisce and pull our thoughts together to write this letter, 2002 seems the year of too many commitments and too little time.


Paul celebrated turning 16 last May by taking his drivers test on his birthday and commencing to drive.  Thus began a phase change in our household where everyone is now independent (“except for the small matter of not having a car;” Helen attributes to Paul).  He continues to run varsity cross-country and again went with his team to the California State meeting.  The rest of us are amazed by his talk of “easy” ten mile training runs.

Paul’s love of computers grows even stronger.  Last spring, he did a self-study preparation for the AP Computer Science exam and passed with flying colors.  He is also deep into photography, focusing on the basics: manually operating a camera (“what is an ‘f-stop’?”), manual focusing, and developing and printing black and white photos.

During the summer, he was a teachers aid in his school’s academic enrichment program for Oakland inner city middle school students.  He is learning to cook by volunteering every other Saturday night to prepare and serve dinner for a local men’s shelter.


Karen graduates from Wellesley this coming May.  Helen and Lee feel old and wonder where the years have gone….  She is a joint physics and philosophy major – physics to understand how things work and philosophy to wonder why. 

She spent the summer as a teaching intern, teaching middle school science and high school calculus.  She lived in a dorm with middle school girls, being, among other things a curfew enforcer.  She is planning to teach high school physics after she graduates. 

Karen again was on the Wellesley volleyball team, providing Helen the opportunity to travel east to cheer at several tournaments. 


Helen spent the fall as campaign manager against a local ballot measure.  The measure placed on the Oakland city ballet at the last minute by Mayor Jerry Brown.  It proposed to make permanent, two years early, the strong mayor form of government Jerry had established on a trial basis when he initially was elected mayor.  Helen ran the No on CC campaign on behalf of the League of Women Voters who had intended to use the final two years of the initial trial period to sponsor public discussions and fine-tuning of the strong mayor form of government.  Helen’s campaign won by 417 out of 82,000 votes cast.  Having won the campaign, she now must actually organize the public discussion about the structure of city government.

The rest of Helen’s time was consumed by work for the Leagues of Women Voters as member of the board of directors and editor of the newsletter, three trips this fall to New England to cheer Karen’s volleyball team, selecting/installing new membership and contribution software for our church, and continuing as a short term foster parent for kittens from the SPCA.


Lee joined Aetna’s healthcare group on Valentine’s Day as the western region finance officer, based in the bay area.  Two quick reorganizations later, he has nationwide responsibility for planning and decision support for the middle market finance organization.  He now splits his time between Aetna’s corporate office in Hartford and a home office.  Lee is enjoying being part of his third major healthcare organization massive turnaround.

On one of Lee’s trips to east, he was able to spend Saturday evening with Karen in Boston.  She and her friends took him to a folk concert at another local college; Lee later recounted observing that in the audience of 100, he was one of three males and the only person over 30.

Lee had a wonderful trip to New Mexico with the “Art Gang” from our church.  Lee shot 600+ digital images (“free film,” he claims); a wall is now covered with pictures of Santa Fe, Ghost Ranch, and the Albuquerque Balloon Fiesta.


Wally Aurich, Lee’s dad, fell off his roof in January, shattering both his knees and breaking other bones.  After three months confined to bed, he has progressed through a walker and cane, and is now back to his previous routine of walking several miles each morning.  Joyfully, way ahead of everyone’s predictions, he has resumed folk dancing, though he has to forgo the leaps he did when he was 70.

We hope this finds you well, and that this coming year is peaceful for all,

       Helen, Karen, Paul & Lee


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Last updated 30 December 2003