2016 Year-end Newsletter

Dear Family and Friends,

As this year of unexpected changes and unpredictable prospects draws to a close, there’s special reason to maintain time-tested rituals of contact and celebration.

We’re still shaken by the last month’s political upheavals, both national and local. Jan’s reelection for a fourth and final term as mayor of San Luis Obispo appeared to be cause for celebration on the night of November 8, made even more special by a surprise visit from our son Joe. But when all the votes were finally counted two and a half weeks later, it turned out that her opponent, who had no governmental experience but was supported by both extreme right and extreme left, won by only 47 votes.

The intensity of sympathy and concern for our City from a wide range of constituents in the aftermath has somewhat softened the shock, as have the promises of increasing freedom, adventure and opportunity, including an invitation for her to teach constitutional law and take the role of dean of our local accredited law school.

In the immediate future we look forward to spending snowy holidays with Joe, Amy, Ethan and Abel in Idaho, while grandson Ian, age 15, travels to Tennessee to be with his Dad, Dennis, and Claire and grandson Lucas, age 9, spend several days in Los Angeles with our niece Emma and family. In February 2017 we will go to Lund B.C. to attend the premiere of “End of the Road,” a full-length documentary about our back-to-land migration of the 1970’s to that corner of the world, produced by our friend, Tai Uhlmann.  She was born and raised there alongside our son Joe, but left to make films, and later returned to raise her own family.

April 2 will mark our 50th wedding anniversary.

Despite anxieties about the future of our planet, nation, City and family, we feel blessed reflecting on the past year. It began with a marvelous holiday tour of Costa Rica with Ian and Lucas, organized for grandparents and grandchildren by Road Scholar. During Spring vacation Steven drove with the boys to Ketchum for skiing with the junior Marxes and camped out in Death Valley on the way back.  While both boys went to overnight camp in June, we “active grandparents” indulged in a weeklong cruise up the Inside Passage to Glacier Bay in Alaska, following the route of John Muir.  August brought our annual road trip to Knoll House, our second home in Lund, and adventures there and on Vancouver Island with Joe’s family and with old friends.

Jan’s final year as Mayor mixed achieving environmental, economic, and social welfare goals for the City and region with carrying out ceremonial offices, collaborating with other civic leaders, chairing the SLO Council of Governments and adroitly managing long and, at times, acrimonious Council meetings. She also ran a vigorous and efficient reelection campaign with minor help from Steven. He worked and worried as president of the non-profit running the City Farm and gave a couple of presentations to his Buddhist meditation group.

We hope that the upcoming year will allow for more reconnection with all of you”those we’ve managed to see in person since the last exchange of holiday greetings and those we haven’t, but with whom we still feel a strong connection across the wide gap of time.

Love and Happy New Year,

Leave a Reply