The Lewin Family Virtual, Interactive, Year-end, Letter - 2011 ©

[New, improved and just about Y3K Compliant]




We really enjoy receiving the Holiday cards in the mail with all of y'all's pictures on 'em. Some of you, I dare say, are showing your age.......some of you look pretty good for your age.

Here are ours:


2011 has been busy and a year of transition for some of us and a mundane year for the others. It must be a factor of our age, but it seems that each year now has a mention of those close to us who have passed. Last year we lost Carol's mother and my very good friend, Jerry LeMaster. This year was my father and a good friend of Carol's, Suzan Wilson (lost to breast cancer). It doesn't get any easier and as my very good friend Ray Poliakoff says: "Getting older is not for sissys."

My father on his 90th birthday.


Carol and Suzan
(January 2009)


Carol had a very busy year, spending this writer's hard earned money, putting it back into the house. Re-roofing the house, paint inside and out, change some of the appointments inside, etc. In my absence, she did a very admirable job. The outside color is just a bit darker and the inside is fresh and clean. Thank goodness Ted (the cat) kept moving or he would have been a different color too.


Our beloved cat Teeger III, passed away this year. He had been a part of this family since Anthony picked him out at the animal shelter in 1991. Teeger lived to be almost 20 cat years old, that is 92 human years.

Ted has some pretty big paws to fill.


Carol joined the Green Nation, she is now a member of the CERT Team for Encinitas/Rancho Santa Fe and sports her green hard hat and green backpack. CERT, Community Emergency Response Team, teaches disaster preparedness and how to take care of yourself, your family and those around you in times of disaster. A very worthwhile program, I recommend that everyone take the course and stay active in the program. I have been involved in the CERT program for the past six years and am the Assistant CERT Coordinator for Del Mar Fire Department, Encinitas FD, Rancho Santa Fe FD and the Solana Beach FD. Additionally I am co-chair of the San Diego County CERT Council.

Carol also sold some of her succulent creations at several local craft fairs:



Thanks for asking, and speaking of me, I have been gone most of this year. In February "the FEMA phone rang."
You DO know that FEMA is a department of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security.


I was in Pasadena for two months working on the winter storms of 2010. From there I went to Alabama, specifically Birmingham, Tuscaloosa and Russellville to work on the April 27th tornadoes. Was there through the end of August and then I was sent to New York City ahead of Hurricane Irene. I was on one of the last planes into La Guardia ahead of the storm. I spent one night in New York City and was sent to Trenton, New Jersey for all the flooding. We left the Trenton office and opened a temporary office in Neptune, NJ where I was for a month before I came home.

I was able to get out into some of the towns in Alabama: Tuscaloosa, Hackleburg, Haleyville and Phil Campbell and took the following pictures:

Here is just one of the many videos on YouTube. Can you imagine.....?


I can't say enough about Southern Hospitality.

Within a week of arriving in Birmingham,
I found the Birmingham Amateur Radio Club, W4CUE, and two wonderful members:

Jerry Fiore, N4JF

Jeff Drew, N4JDU

Jeff tells the most amazing stories about growing up in the 60's in Birmingham.

Let me relate one to you:

Jeff lives near the intersection of two major highways in Birmingham on, what is known as "Dynamite Hill."

When asked why it was called that, Jeff said that the KKK used to come by in the early 60's and dynamite and shoot at some of the houses, including his, especially when Uncle Mike was staying there.

"Uncle Mike, who's zat?" I asked.

Martin Luther King, Jr., Jeff replied.


Jeff also plays one of the meanest upright basses in 'Bama.


Another wonderful place with open-arm Southern Hospitality was Tuscaloosa,
(Tuscaloosa got hammered by the tornadoes...
55 deaths and over 7,000 buildings destroyed or damaged).
Tuscaloosa is home of the University of Alabama, the Crimson Tide,
or as the local self-service laundry is called, The Cleansing Tide...
or the municipal bus system calls it the Crimson Ride.

Here are two "finds:"

The absolutely best Soul Food in the South is Maggie's Dinner, in Tuscaloosa, owned and operated by....
...Maggie Harris (on the left).
Collard greens, okra, cornbread, fried chicken, yellow squash, etc. were absolutely wonderful.

Thomas Linton, one of the most amazing people I have ever met. First of all, see the door in the center in the top picture? That's Maggie's. The door to our right is Rev. Linton's Barber Shop, where he has been cutting hair since 1951.

Maggie is his sister.

During the two and a half hours one afternoon that I sat in his chair getting a haircut, I heard the first person history of the civil rights movement and Bloody Tuesday in Tuscaloosa. Absolutely incredible.


Whilst in Alabama, I left for a week for a mini vacation and we cruised to Alaska from Seattle. Here are a few pictures of what we saw and what we did:


After Birmingham, I went to New Jersey and on my weekends off, I visited my brother and his family.



Over Thanksgiving, we flew to Indianapolis to visit Anthony, Erin and Erin's family.

Anthony's office,

in City Hall

Guess whose parking spot we took?

A View of Downtown Indianapolis

Even in the below freezing weather......

Anthony rides his bicycle to and from work


Erin, BTW, is quite the artist, as well as having a very dry sense of humor.
Here are two modest examples:

Here is the story on the cartoon to the left:

Anthony, early one morning, was leaving home to go to work.

With his bike in hand, he opened the door only to fine a huge web and a humongous spider.

Suffering from arachnephobia, Anthony freaked out. He grabbed the nearest weapon, a can of compressed air, and proceeded to blow the the spider from his web.

That didn't work.

Erin grabbed the vacuum from the nearby closet and sucked in the spider.

Hence Erin's cartoon.

A caricature of the four (oops, five) of us.

That is Anthony on the right, he occasionally
goes under the name of "Stinky."



All in all, kinda mundane year, but I promise 2012 will be more me.

A wonderful Holiday season to all and to all a happy and healthy New Year.

Write us if you care....Carol, Anthony, or Arnie.

BTW, we are all on Facebook, even Ted the Cat.

Let us know if you want to send us a Toot or a Tweet on "Twitter"


I was told to tell Y'all, that the identity of this person is completely unknown.
(if you get my drift).

The End



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