Christmas, 1990

Dear Friends,

1990 proved to be a year of changes. The family size increased with the addition of our son, Samuel. Ellen carried him halfway through the tenth month of her pregnancy before he even thought about entering the new world. Finally, early on June 23rd, she went into labor, only to find out 18 hours later that she would have Caesarian Section surgery. It seemed that Samuel, who weighed nearly 10 pounds at birth, was too big to be born the more natural way.

Samuel is now six months old and has cut his first tooth. He is a delightful baby and we feel most fortunate to be able to experience the joys of parenthood.

Anthony and Joseph continue to live with their mother, although we see them on weekends and in the summer. They are very proud to have a new brother after ten years of being "only" children. Both are excellent students, with grades near the tops in their fifth grade class. Their worst "subjects" are Citizenship and Handwriting.

We completed the construction of our new home, also in June. It was a race to the very end to finish the house before the baby arrived. Our contractor consistently promised, proclaimed, and swore the house would be ready in time. As it turned out, Samuel spent only one night in the old home. We closed on the new house on a Friday. The baby was born on Saturday. We brought him home from the hospital on Tuesday, and moved to the new house on Wednesday. Needless to say, I was dashing to the hospital in between loads of stuff I was moving. Ellen's mom also stayed with us for two weeks (thank goodness for Moms) and helped us with both baby and moving.

Hopefully, all that effort was well worth the expenditure. We enjoy our new surroundings (mostly woods) and like our new neighbors. There is plenty of extra room available for anyone who happens to be passing through the area and needs a place to stay...or simply stop by for a visit. My next project will be to figure out how to pump the water from the creek at the back of the property for use in irrigating the lawn. Any suggestions?

Ellen did well in her first-grade school teaching. She was able to complete her fifth year in the profession, and third year with the Channelview Independent School District, before the baby made its presence known. She is taking this year off to stay home with Samuel, and will decide this summer whether to return to her job.

Last but not least, in June I tendered my resignation from ARCO Chemical after almost 11 years of service. Conditions at the plant had grown progressively more hectic as a result of management policies throughout the company. Suffering from what is commonly known as the "Free Lunch Syndrome," ACC management believed that ten engineers can do the work of fifty if the engineers are convinced it can be done. By golly, we sure tried! Three weeks after I decided that I didn't want to work 60 hours per week or be awakened regularly in the middle of the night, the plant was rocked by an explosion. Eighteen lost their lives in the worst industrial accident the company has known.

The good news is my new career at the M. W. Kellogg Company. Kellogg, an engineering and construction company, has built a strong department that does advanced process control work. Now I'm on the other side of the client-contractor fence, but basically doing the same work. So far it feels pretty good. At least I can be relatively sure that I'll sleep through the night (that is, if Samuel doesn't wake up). The three weeks I took off between jobs worked quite well for me. It allowed me time to help Ellen with our newborn, and to move into the new house.

This Christmas will give us much to be thankful for. We hope that all had a great year and are happy and prosperous in the coming year. Ellen and I welcome visits, so if you're ever near Houston, just holler!

Mark, Ellen, Anthony, Joseph, and Samuel


Our new mailing address is:

#6 Thornhill Oaks Drive

Houston, TX 77015


(713) 453-0625 (same as before)

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