Melanie is 25 now. She has been working at IU Health at Goshen Hospital in Goshen, IN for close to three years now. And this year, they announced that they are breaking off from IU Health and going independent. They are now known as Goshen Health. As the person responsible for Public Relations, Melanie led the whole team in the re-branding effort. She even had herself appear in TV commercials; well at least parts of her - you would never know it was her. Melanie also got to attend the Red Carpet opening for the movie "New Life" that was filmed at her hospital and she actually had a very small appearance in the movie. She still lives in an apartment in Elkhart, IN. Melanie's boyfriend lives in Indianapolis. That's about a 3 hour drive for them. He actually attended Homestead High School at the same time as Melanie, but she never met him. And his Dad worked at Raytheon many years ago, but I don't remember him either.
Brian is now a senior at IU and studying something called Informatics. It is computer technology related. And he won't be able to graduate in May because he has to have an internship; likely in the summer of 2017. Brian and his girlfriend share an apartment in Bloomington with another roommate... Three's Company ;^}? Brian is full into adulting now that he has turned 22 in November. Hopefully he'll land a full-time job after he graduates!
Michael Victor also had a birthday in November and he is now 16. He also has his Learner's Permit for driving. And continuing on with marching band, at drumline mini-camp, Michael was assigned 3rd bass drum. He really wanted snare, but there were 6 juniors and 1 senior who had seniority over him, so he'll have to wait at least one more year. Sadly, the band director's wife passed away unexpectedly over the summer. The theme of this year's show was A Time To Turn, LOVE, EMBRACE, WEEP, & DANCE. It was supposed to be an analogy of the band's experience over the past 30 years. As it turns out, it was also an analogy of the band director's life. Yet again, they made it to the State competition for the 30th year in a row. And they placed 3rd again. In the Bands of America competition, they placed 11th out of about 100 bands from across America. So, after band season was over, the band director announced his retirement for the end of this school year. Michael will have 2 more shots at State, but now it will be without Mr. Barber. And keeping with the theme of band, Michael has another girlfriend who was also in band spinning flags in the color guard.
Wendy is still working as a multimedia marketing consultant for KPC Media. They publish the Greater Fort Wayne Business Weekly and Wendy is responsible for selling ads and sponsorships for the newspaper. This year, Wendy planned our family vacation to the Smoky Mountains of Tennessee. We rented a log cabin for the week of the 4th of July and we had Wendy's Dad & his wife, Grandpa John & Grandma Barbara join us. All the kids were there including Brian's girlfriend. The adults (old people) were actually able to have a relaxing vacation as the kids were now old enough to be on their own while we did our boring, old people stuff. We went racing at a NASCAR go-kart track, Dolly Parton's Dixie Stampede, Paula Deen's at The Island in Pigeon Forge, hiking to Laurel Falls in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, Ripley's Aquarium of the Smokies, moonshine tasting, and wine tasting. Fun was had by all! This was also a big year for Wendy as she turned 50. To begin her celebrations, she met up with her friends from Villa Maria High School in Ellicottville, NY. Her friends are always ready to join Wendy whenever she comes to town. Wendy got them all t-shirts that said "The Entourage" on them; watch out for these ladies!
I am still working at Raytheon in Fort Wayne, IN. After over 25 years, the program that I started on has finally come to an end. So I and a bunch of my co-workers were in need of work to stay gainfully employed. Luckily Raytheon is a huge company and there were plenty of programs that were in need of help. The only problem was that most of these programs originated elsewhere; for us, the bulk of programs that were in need of help were in Massachusetts. However, we have worked on ways that allow all of us to perform our jobs here in Fort Wayne even though the program HQ is elsewhere. I did have to travel to Tewksbury, MA for a week to get to know my new co-workers and to get more acquainted with the program. So far it has been working out well. I also travelled to Buffalo & Rochester in April to surprise my oldest brother Mike who just turned 60. My son Michael came with me on this trip. Vacation for the 4th of July in Tennessee was great. And as it has become our renewed tradition, Wendy & I spent much of the fall travelling around Indiana for Michael's marching band competitions. One other thing I have taken on is that I am building a "man cave" in the storage area of our basement. I am totally unqualified with some of the skills needed for this, but I have friends from work that are helping me here & there. I am currently progressing way too slow on this project, but I hope to have it nearly done early in the new year.
We are thankful for all of our friends and family. We wish we could see you all more often.