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Christmas 1996

Hello to all our friends far and near. Yet another year has come and gone in the blink of an eye. Seems like I’m writing these Christmas letters every six weeks or so! It’s either because, as the old saying goes, time flies when you’re having fun, or…. never mind!

As I mentioned last year, our Christmas newsletters are going to be a lot duller than they used to be, and this one will continue the tradition. We don’t travel for fun nearly as much as we did in Europe - in fact our total inventory of fun trips for the adults was two; a weekend in New York City and ten days in Colorado.

We survived the Winter of ’96, but just barely. Those of you in New England don’t have to be reminded, but for those not living in these parts, the winter of 1995-1996 holds the record for the most snowfall in New England. Boston’s Logan airport recorded 110 inches (over 9 feet, 2.8 meters) of snow during the season, and that’s right on the coast. It was much worse inland. Our one snow casualty was Lynn; she threw her back out badly while shoveling the nasty white stuff, and has been coaxing it back to health ever since.

Undaunted by her weakened condition, Lynn proceeded to pull down all the wallpaper in the dining room one day in February, which sort of sealed our fate as to how we would be spending our leisure time, because we had volunteered to host a family wedding shower in April! Everyone knows Lynn and I work best under pressure, and when nature can’t cooperate by supplying natural pressures to spur us on, we often create artificial ones of our own. But hey, we finished redecorating the dining room and the kitchen in plenty of time - we had almost twelve hours to spare!

The girls are finding their respective niches back here in the states. Megan is in 11th grade this year, was recently inducted into the National Honor Society, and is in love with choral music and performing. She was chosen for Northeast Regional District Choir both last year and this year, was invited to audition for the all-state choral group this year, and is a member of the New England Conservatory Youth Chorale. She also sings in the school choir and the school’s elite Jazz Choir, and takes voice lessons. With all this music in her life you’d think she’d be spending all her waking hours in song, but she never sings around the house - at least not so Dad can hear!

Audrey has done wonderfully in school this year (except for Latin, but she’s working to improve that one). She’s in 9th grade and is having a ball being in the high school. She’s in the school choir with Megan, and still participates in the 4-H youth organization, where she collected a bevy of blue ribbons at the annual show and fair in September. She’s on the Science Team at school, which is ranked first out of the 25 high schools that they compete against. Her special interest, though, is horse-back riding. She spent most of the summer at her cousin’s horse ranch in Wyoming, learning all the ins and outs of horses and riding. Now she’s hooked. She takes riding lessons once a week in Concord, and loves it.

Both girls had better summers than their parents. Audrey spent most of the summer in Wyoming, as I mentioned, and Megan returned to Germany to visit friends for 3 weeks. After Germany, she traveled to Florida to work as a Nanny for another 3 weeks for some friends whom we knew in Germany. With trips and overlaps, Mom and Dad were actually kidless for quite a stretch this summer!

Both girls have also joined the ranks of the gainfully employed. Audrey works as a bagger at a local supermarket, and Megan peddles bagels at an upscale bagel shop close by. Neither job takes up too much time (so far), but it does give them more than Dad’s measly allowance for money, and it will soon introduce them to the joys of income tax returns!

We combined a family wedding with a family trip this June, and spent the better part of a week in New York City. A nephew was married in St. Patrick’s Cathedral (an experience in itself) so we killed two birds with one stone and played tourist in the Big Apple. We got tickets to see The Phantom, toured Ellis Island and the Statue of Liberty, and hunted down the cemetery in the Bronx where my great-great-grandfather is buried (Woodlawn). We made the tactical mistake of staying in a hotel outside the city so the money we saved in hotel bills we spent in taxi and transportation bills. Next time we’ll know better.

Lynn has continued her pursuit of continuing education and is just now finishing up her second psychology course at a local college. She aced her first course last spring, but this current course is providing a different challenge and is proving to be much more work than the first one.

She’s also been active in the care and feeding of the newest member of our family - Buddy! Buddy is a black-lab / German shepherd mix-breed puppy we got back in late August from an animal shelter (Lynn said it was either a dog or another kid and you don't have to put dogs through college or dress them in designer shoes). When we got him he was 11 pounds and cute. Now he's 45+ pounds and still growing (still cute too, but not as much). He’s all-black, so at night he just disappears into the darkness at the end of the leash. If he ever got loose at night, we’d need infra-red goggles just to see him! He's mostly Lynn's dog, but we all have fun with him. He's a real good dog and he learned the doggie-essentials (like no peeing in the house) real quick. Some of the more esoteric things (like rolling over or playing dead) he has a bit more trouble with, but he's good natured and a real companion for us all.

I also got a new computer! I still have the old one for the kids, but my new one is a (GEEK ALERT - THE FOLLOWING IS TECHNO-GIBBERISH) Gateway 2000  200 MHz Pentium Pro, with 64 MB memory, two 3.8 GB hard drives, an 8x CD-ROM, a 4MB video board driving a 21-inch monitor, and 3.2 GB tape backup! A screamer! I also bought an inexpensive flatbed scanner so I can scan pictures and digitize a lot of genealogy photos and documents. The new machine is so much faster than the old one. I let the girls use it when I'm not, but I get first call on it when I’m home.


Well, that’s about it from the VOGT home front. Gene’s been traveling more than usual with work, but other than that nothing much else is happening. We hope the holidays are delightful for you, and that the new years brings health and happiness to you all.

Merry Christmas!

Lynn, Gene, Megan, Audrey, and now Buddy too!





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