Lehman Family Christmas Letter 2002

Ah, Christmas! A time of manic shopping, off-key caroling, and hurried present wrapping!As my good friend Lewis Carroll put it, “Oh frabjous day! Callooh, Callay!”Yet around the Lehman household, nary a callooh nor a callay will be heard until December 25, when all Michelle’s homes will be closed, all Dave’s sermons will be spoken, and all of our presents will be bought and wrapped. On that wondrous day, all the Lehmans down in Lehman-ville will sing!

So, to get out of the way of the usual hustle and bustle around here, I, Mark Lehman, the youngest (and I daresay the most handsome) of the Dave Lehman clan, have volunteered to write this year’s timeline of events. However, though my father and brother before me have followed with some sort of odd thing called ‘tradition,’ I have chosen to do away with such triviality. Pity.

In the spirit of chaos, which we can all see as the obvious force acting on all of us this holiday season, I will begin in random order with Daniel. Though still funny-looking, Daniel has managed to make a name for himself down at Loyola Marymount University (LMU). I refer not to his nickname of ‘Jesus,’ which suits him quite well due to his stunning resemblance, but rather to his titles he has gained in our school newspaper, the Los Angeles Loyolan. The beginning of the year saw his interest and talent in writing movie and music reviews increase enough to catch the attention of the senior Arts & Entertainment editor to hire him as an assistant. Thus, in the natural order of the world, after the editor graduated in May, Daniel succeeded him as editor through his hard work on the Sundance Film Festival he attended earlier in the year. But let’s not get ahead of ourselves.

Over the summer, Daniel continued working in real estate acting as Michelle’s assistant and making some bucks for his forthcoming senior year. He has had an active fall semester, rarely sticking around school, instead traveling to Chicago, Florida, Vegas, and anywhere else he could find an excuse to go to. In Chicago, he played rugby, and participated in a host of other fun activities and wild times. The same story applies to his Florida trip, but replacing rugby with going to a journalism convention with other editors for the Loyolan. When he has been at school, he has been keeping busy with two jobs, a psychology thesis, and a screenwriting thesis. To prepare for finals the weekend before them, he went skydiving again, this time in Santa Barbara. Then, to finish the semester strong, he took a trip to Vegas to celebrate a friend’s 21st birthday, where he and his friends gambled, boozed, and partied their lives away. Thankfully, he returned to his family in one piece, and even had a 4.00 GPA to show for his hard work over the semester.

To keep with our anarchistic theme, I will continue this letter with our beloved dog Harley. The dog spent the year very active, participating in many different events ranging from sleeping to eating to rolling over. Sometimes, if we provoke her enough, she will actually play ball with us. She models lazy behavior for us, and each one of us continually strives to achieve such content. Thank God for that wonderful animal.

Speaking of God, I’ll now tell the story of a man who’s in good with God, Dave. Despite constant harassing from the extended family (“Hey there Deacon Dave!”), Dave continues in his 3rd year of deacon-age. He has learned from experience that he should not wait until the night before to write his homilies, and thus, he now sometimes writes them the day that he must present them. His family still loves him, though, and always offers constructive criticism (“It’s not too bad…”).

Unfortunately for Dave, God’s payment of blessings and love just doesn’t pay the bills, so he still has to hold down his job as the manager of CENTURY 21 Select, a centurion office. The title of centurion, simply put, means “big-money-making,” so I guess managing such an office can’t be too bad of a job. As part of this job, he went on a few business trips during the year, including one to San Antonio in March with Michelle for the annual CENTURY 21 convention and another to San Diego for the Council of Real Estate Brokers in October. When not on business trips, he rules his office with an iron fist, yet he is well-liked by all his employees. Yet somehow he maintains the title of “Best dad I have ever had,” so he gets points in my book for that.

In order to exhibit humility on my part, I shall save talking of myself for last. Michelle had another outstanding year, getting very little sleep in the process. Last year, Michelle sold enough to earn the centurion award, and this year she has done the same. As I have established before, this means that she became a “big-money-maker,” and instead of a silly plaque, this year at the awards ceremony she received a trophy with a statue of a golden naked man, signifying her success last year. On top of that, she helped to manage her office of Noel David Realty, training new agents, as well as earning her GRI and ABR designations, which are cool because they make her title longer and more important-looking. (They have actual meanings but those are far too long and complex to make me want to explain them.)

Aside from work, which consumes much of her life, she has somehow found time to help plan and organize her parents 50th anniversary celebration, take a trip to LMU with Mark for his orientation over the summer, celebrate her own 25th anniversary with Dave at a timeshare in Oregon, and go on a few family vacations to various places which I will cover later, not to mention remodel the kitchen, which she calls “exciting!” (that poor woman). To this day, I don’t know when she sleeps.

Now, turtle doves, you will hear the story of me, your faithful companion on the journey through the Lehman’s 2002 timeline. ’Tis a story of triumph and failure, romance and danger, yet a story that touches the heart and warms the soul. I began the year with a girlfriend of a little over a year at my side to help me fight the forces of academia, and I continued my efforts in helping produce one of Jesuit High school’s best yearbooks to date. Before this occurrence, however, I ventured forth into the vast unknown of Mexico to help my fellow brothers build a house in Rosarita Beach for the poor people of the community as my service project for school. Avoiding the danger that crept upon me those dark nights, my group emerged victorious, having helped to build 3 new houses and make many new friends. After finishing the yearbook and graduating with honors, I achieved the first 4.00 unweighted GPA and earned a place in the Honors program as well as a scholarship to the next school in my life, LMU.

When all seemed well, on the verge of opening a brand new chapter in my life, I and my girlfriend of then 18 months, Sam, decided to liberate each other of romantic entanglements, thus ending that chapter. Obviously this caused heartache, but it also gave me a chance to spend some time with guy friends before I left them for college, and for this I am now grateful. We took a senior trip to Dillon Beach, built a potato launcher, and participated in many ‘guy’ activities. Finally, we all separated and went to our respective schools. I quickly found my niche at LMU, working two jobs: the yearbook and a secretary position in the Jesuit community. Since then, I have had my share of fun experiences, from organizing a Secret Santa program in my dorm, to watching the Leonid meteor shower with a group of friends at 3 am on a school night. I even finished the year with a semi-successful set of grades. I count that as a triumph.

As for family, we have taken every chance we could get to enjoy our time together in exotic locales across the world. Our June travels brought us to a resort in South Lake Tahoe, where we proceeded to do some hiking, reading, and lazing about, except when Michelle would drag us to the casinos so she could have her fun with the slot machines. Next, we brushed up on our Spanish before our journey to Cabo San Lucas, where we did some bartering and helped Daniel celebrate his 21st birthday by dining at Romeo y Julieta, his favorite Italian restaurant in Mexico (yes, I know, Italian food in Mexico… what can I say, he’s weird). He also got a chance to go surfing, which he had ached to do for some time. Finally, we celebrated my 18th birthday by doing what everyone does on their 18th birthday… no, not a strip club, but Disneyland! We rode all the rides, saw many of the characters, and I even tried (unsuccessfully) to pull the sword from the stone. As you can see, we’ve had our fair share of fun times, but would you expect anything less from such a fun family?

Out of the chaos emerges… well, Christmas, and Christmas is an occasion to celebrate no matter how it comes. No amount of chaos could stop the Lehman family from having a fun and joyous year, ending with a very merry Christmas. So from all of us here in Lehman-ville to all of you out there, we hope you have a wonderful Christmas day, callooh, callay!

Love,
Dave, Michelle, Daniel, Mark, & Harley
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