Christmas Letters

Every about this time I start working on my Christmas Letter. I started doing this annual letter back about 1998 or 1999. I felt that sending a Christmas card with just a signature was too little work and hand writing news on each and every card was way too much. My in-laws had been doing Christmas letters for as long as I have known them. Back then Mary did the writing and typing on her IBM Selectric and took it to the copy shop for duplication. Computers made my job so much easier.

I still have copies of previous editions going back to 1999. Some years, I would send my email. But I didn’t like that very much. The initial editions just had generic Christmas clip-art. Eventually, I started including pictures. I figured our friends would rather see a few pictures than some lame clip-art.

Now a days, I do a press run of 120 copies. 120 is a nice round number. There are 30 address labels per page and 24 e-stamps per page. Both numbers divide evenly into 120. I still send a few email copies for folks not in the USA. Besides, going past 120 gets into serious money for postage.

So I already have a rough draft done. And I have started printing stamps and labels. Some years when I was working, I didn’t get the letter out until after Christmas.

So without further ado, here is my 1999 Christmas letter (this was the text only version sent by email):

December 1999

Well it is December again and time to do some writing to our friends and family wherever you may be. This year Paula and I decided that she would write her Christmas cards the normal way (ie. Christmas card, pen, envelope, stamp, etc.).

I decided to do another Christmas letter, but this year I would send it via email. I have added several hyperlinks for your web-surfing enjoyment. So without further ado, here is the latest news at the Bowker family:

Mike finished his freshman year at Northeastern University. He made the Dean’s list for the Spring Quarter. He is majoring in Electrical Engineering or as Dave Barry calls it “Big Scary Equations”. This fall he is working at his Co-op assignment at Ezenia Corporation in Burlington.

He continues to be active in NUHOC (NU Hiking and Outing Club). Click here to see a picture of him last winter at a NUHOC Ice Climbing event. He is eagerly awaiting the first good snow of the season. It has been unseasonably warm in New England this December and for that Mike is quite unhappy.

Mike continues to train at Kwon’s Tai Kwon Do in Tewksbury. He tested and received his 2nd Dan (2nd Degree) Black Belt in December. He will be returning to campus in January, to start his sophomore academic work (Physics, Math, Circuits).

Neil is in his junior year at Shawsheen Vocational Technical High School where his shop specialty is Air Conditioning and Refrigeration (ACR). Neil spent the summer working at a local Air Conditioning contractor. He was spent many a weekend diving off of Cape Ann. He passed his Advanced Open Water Dive certification. 

Neil got his drivers license this spring and Billerica roads have not been the same since. In June, he decided that he really needed a car, so we found him a 1990 Jeep Wrangler. Neil is rapidly learning the hassles of owning a car.

Paula is still working at Chelmsford Pediatrics as a staff nurse. There are unfortunately no web pages for Chelmsford Pediatrics. Paula and I try to spend as many weekends as we can up at our condo in Plymouth, NH.  We never seem to have enough time to get away. Here are a couple of pictures of the place. The condo is located at Tenney Mountain in Plymouth, NH.

I have been asked by some of our west coast friends whether we would be out in LA this Christmas. Unfortunately we will not be traveling this Christmas. One of the reasons for staying home is that I will be working over the New Year’s weekend keeping the world safe from the Y2K problems. Paula’s parents will however be coming out to visit for Christmas.  We are looking forward to their visit.

I continue to work for Compaq (or as we are fond of calling it: the company formerly known as DEC). I am doing more or less the same job in Customer Services doing either solving complex customer problems or consulting in the High Availability Systems area. I am currently working on a project for AT&T where I get to spend weekends in New Jersey. This is not quite the international travel I was becoming used to. Whatever, it’s a job.

This past weekend we finally had a taste of winter. Temperature got down to 32F and winds of 25 knots gusting to 30-40 knots. BRRRRRRR!!!!. Paula and I spent Saturday Christmas shopping starting with Amazon.com to gift shops to Wal-Mart and so forth. Mike decided to forego the pleasure of joining us and went skiing instead.

Well, that’s enough. May all of you and happy and joyous Christmas. Keep in touch.

Joe, Paula, Mike and Neil Bowker

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