Christmas, 1998

Dear Friends,

The year 1998 will, no doubt, prove to be a pivotal one for us.

With our aging, the passing of our ancestors is inevitable. Ellen's grandmother in Fort Lauderdale, at age 93, passed away this February. She was doing well up to that time and passed quietly. In September, Ellen lost her other grandmother, age 96. She had been in a home her last few years, but was Ellen's last living grandparent. My grandmother is still living in Pensacola, but has entered a home as well. She had been unable to prevent herself from falling and injuring herself. She is now 94 years old. The doctors say her body is still strong, so we are hopeful that she will maintain status quo.

Ellen phased out of teaching aerobics at the local YMCA about mid-year. Her full-time teaching position (5th Grade) at St. Pius, the Catholic school where both Samuel and Lisa attend, is demanding her full attention. Between her teaching job and all the transporting of kids (soccer, dance class, basketball, and piano lessons), Ellen still doesn't get much spare time.

Anthony and Joseph graduated from Northshore High School with High Honors. As expected Anthony was Valedictorian of the 900 or so students in the Senior class. Not to be outdone, Joseph finished within a small fraction of his brother's GPA and wound up Salutatorian. They both gave speeches at Graduation. After applying to about a dozen colleges, they decided on Texas A&M, since the school gave them enough money when combined with other scholarships to cover most of the costs. They're sticking with an engineering major (leaning toward Chemical) for now.

Samuel is 8 1/2 and is now in Third Grade at St. Pius Catholic school. He still takes piano lessons and is doing quite well for his age. He sometimes is hard to motivate, but that is normal. We plan to continue as long as he shows aptitude for music. Samuel really is getting into sports now. He watches basketball games and is learning the names of the players (although the NBA strike is not helping him now). He did soccer again this fall. One game, he scored seven goals--more than the entire opposing team.

Lisa just turned 7 and is enjoying First Grade at St. Pius. She has most all of the kids in the first five grades wrapped around her little finger. She knows them all and they all love her. Lisa continues in dance. She had a Spring recital and just had her Christmas dance recital; the moments were priceless. I had fun with the Digital Camera on the latter event.

Ellen and I took brief but pleasant vacations to Michigan and Arizona to visit her family. While in Michigan we took a side trip to the Upper Peninsula and saw Mackinaw Island, Soo Locks, and Pictured Rocks. On the Arizona trip, we visited Sedona and the Grand Canyon. On that trip, my brother Peter and his new bride Shirley met us in Phoenix and took the trip north with us. We had a blast.

We had a nice visit in late summer from my sister, Gina, and her daughter Carly. They spent almost 2 wonderful months with us. During that time, Carly grew quite close to Samuel and Lisa , maturing noticeably. We miss them both. Gina has moved back to Pensacola and is starting a new life there. So far she is doing well. We wish her the best of luck.

Work at ABB Industrial Systems continued busy for me up through the end of March when my project in Port Arthur, Texas, finished successfully. Things slowed during the summer although they picked up in the fall. One project took me to Bahrain and Saudi Arabia for two weeks to hold a product test and demo for a potential customer. Another took me to the Union Carbide plant in Taft, Louisiana. This is the same plant where I had worked as a Carbide employee 20 years ago. I felt as if I were in a time warp as many people I hadn't seen in 20 years still work there. I even saw my old office. And some of the software that I wrote back then is still running. [They asked me if it was Y2K compliant.]

Alas, it is time to move on. I have accepted a job with CONDEA Vista Chemical in Lake Charles, Louisiana. I will be commuting until June, 1999, to give Ellen and the kids time to complete their school year. Meanwhile, there is a lot of packing and house-hunting to do. I have no address to report, but I promise to send this letter early enough in 1999 to inform you of the new location before the season is fully underway.

I have placed some of our family photos on the Web site if you are interested. I also plan to post our new address there, as soon as we know it. Meanwhile, we all hope that the year has been a good one, and that your family is healthy and happy. Please write (snail mail or email) or stop by for a visit if you're in the area. We will be in Houston for six more months.

Mark, Ellen, Anthony, Joseph, Samuel, and Lisa


Our mailing address is:

#6 Thornhill Oaks Drive

Houston, TX 77015-2060


(713) 453-0625

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