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Christmas 1999

It’s time for another Vogt Family Christmas Letter. Once again the season came up behind us and caught us by surprise. It seems like that happens every year. I could never write for one of those monthly magazines where the Christmas articles have to be done by Labor Day!

Overall, the Vogts’ year has been pretty good. We’ve had a few traumas and troubling times, and we’ve had a few phenomenally fun times. It’s hard to rate a whole year, but right at this moment my subjective feeling is that 1999 was a good year. One thing I can guarantee you right up front is that this Christmas newsletter is 100% millennium-buzzword-free, and certified Y2K compatible, too!


Audrey’s had a very busy year this year. She finished up her junior year in a frenzy and so far its continued into her senior year. She’s been in the WHS Concert and Show Choirs for two years now, and is the choir librarian this year. She’s still active in Key Club (past president from her junior year), and has now worked both behind the curtain (stage manager for February’s Fiddler on the Roof production) and in front of the footlights (the Tattooed Lady in Godspell this past November). The family is still participating in the German Exchange program at WHS, and this past April Audrey got to return to Europe and spend three weeks in Bremen Germany. She stayed with the family of the exchange student we hosted last year (Saskia Gerlach). And this October we hosted yet another student from Bremen (Max Thieme). Just before her Bremen trip in April, Audrey passed one of life’s milestones – she got her driver’s license. That license gave us a scare in August as she totaled our old mini-van in a one-car accident (she hit a telephone pole). Luckily she had her seatbelt on, so her injuries were minor (a broken nose and a split lip), but it shook her up, and the rest of the family too! Bad things can happen in an instant. She’s now deep into the college search routine, with a number of possibilities looming in front of her. She ultimately wants to end up in veterinary school, so she is seeking schools with good pre-vet programs. To that end we recently drove all the way to western PA (with our exchange student in tow) to visit the school that’s currently on the top of her list - Wilson College. Through it all she still works as an animal care specialist weekend mornings at the pet store in the Burlington Mall.


Megan’s had an eventful year too. She finished up her freshman year at Boston University in May, and then folded her tent and transferred to the University of Massachusetts at Lowell (affectionately called U-Mass-Lowell - UML). She auditioned for and was accepted into the Music Teaching program, where she’s studying to be a high school music teacher (with vocal concentration). It’s not easy coming into a new school as a transfer student, but she has adapted and is enjoying life at UML much more than at BU. She’s had to take lessons on lots of the instruments she had never dreamed of playing, including trumpet, trombone, etc. She liked French horn the best. She’s still studying voice (her chosen "instrument" at the school), and adding art and music history and theory to the collection as well.

Lynn’s year has been eventful as well. She had been working as a certified Substance Abuse Counselor at a local woman’s program, and struggling with it. The pay was pitiful, the stress level was high, it became increasingly obvious to her that most of her time and effort was being spent on the administrivia of the job rather the counseling she is trained for, and the work environment was unsupportive at best. After more than a year working there, she came to the peaceful conclusion that this was not what she wanted to spend her energy on, so she resigned. The program was fairly devastated that she was leaving, because she had come to be depended on as a voice of sanity and reason in an environment that is often skewed and distorted on its outlook on life. By the time you read this, she will have started work doing something she has always wanted to do – she will be a nanny for a set of newborn twins who live in a nearby town. We can’t say too much about it yet because she hasn’t quite started the job for real, but she’s really looking forward to it. Next time you talk to her, ask her how it’s going!


For Gene, each year tends to blend into the next. The shrubs and the neighborhood kids get bigger, but other than that it all seems pretty similar. He’s still at MITRE, and this year he was fortunate enough to have been rewarded with a promotion of sorts, so now he’s a Principal Engineer. His hobby of genealogy still gets most of his spare time (when there is any), and recent discoveries have extended his ancestral reach into Sweden and Germany, with more details about distant cousins coming in from a number of surprising sources, including the internet and worldwide web. It has been a constant source of fascination and entertainment.

On the techno-front, Gene’s been wiring the house for an internal computer network. Now all the computers in the house can access the internet through the cable-modem at lightning-fast speed. We have a few more drops to install for completeness, but all the necessary ones are in place. Gene also built a new computer for Lynn from parts bought at a computer flea market. It’s a cute little guy with a moderate CPU chip and a big hard drive, perfect for a spare machine, and it cost next-to-nothing. Audrey’s using it right now, but Lynn owns it.


On July 4th, 1974, on a swelteringly hot and sunny day, two young "children" named Gene & Lynn exchanged marriage vows, promising to cherish each other so long as they both shall live. On July 4th, 1999, another swelteringly hot day twenty-five years later, they threw a party to celebrate their 25th wedding anniversary! Most of the planning was done by Lynn and Gene, and most of the execution was done by Megan and Audrey. What a team!! We rented the American Legion Hall down the street, hired a great DJ, invited lots of friends (most of them showed up - even though it was on a holiday!), and asked the guests to bring pot-luck for the meal! It was fantastic! After the party, the happy couple returned to the scene of the honeymoon, Quebec City, and enjoyed a 4-day getaway to the most European of North American cities.


So here I am, the last member of the family, Buddy the Wonder-Dog, left to write the newsletter myself. Everyone else was too busy! My year was pretty good too. I almost caught a squirrel on the deck, and once Gene accidentally dropped a big piece of liverwurst on the kitchen floor (it never actually hit the floor, I caught it first). I get walked twice a day (most days) and I really enjoy games of tug-o-war with my big rope - want to play? I sleep a lot during the day, get real excited when the family comes home or someone comes to visit, and I love to L-E-A-N on you to show that I like you. I taught myself typing so I could write this, but its really hard to type without fingertips and opposing thumbs. Thank Lassie for spell-checkers!!

And guess what? Pictures from the Anniversary Party, latest family portraits, lots of Gene’s genealogy research, and all the latest news and happenings for the Vogt Family (including past years’ Christmas Newsletters, if you’re a real glutton for punishment!) can be found on our Family web site: https://familytreehouse.net/. Come visit us there any time!! Even I have a page!


We hope your holidays are happy and healthy. In the words of Tiny Tim:

"God Bless Us, Every One!" - WOOF!




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