From left to right: Jon,Timothy, Rachel, Adam, Philip, Benjamin, Sharon and Aaron
(at Grace Community Church in Houston, Texas on August 25, 1996).

Our Family Christmas Letter For 1996!

Dear Family and Friends,

Merry Christmas and Happy l997 from the Aldrich family in Texas!

Hey! I’m not supposed to be upstairs in the video production room, but Daddy is in Chicago, so Mommy is helping me type my first letter. In case you have not heard about me yet, let me fill you in. My name is Benjamin David Aldrich and I am now six months old. I have two teeth and sit up, sort of! I’m almost 20 lbs of cuddly fun , wear size 18-24 months clothes, and size 4 shoes. I made my debut video on my Daddy and Grandpa Al’s birthday, June 28, 1996 at almost 10:00 a.m. Mommy was in such a hurry to meet me that the nurse had to sign my birth certificate, and I met the doctor later. Daddy, although delighted to meet me, was feeling a little sad that he wouldn’t have much of a birthday, what with Mommy and me spending the night in the hospital...

Unbeknownst to him, Mommy had made all the arrangements for a surprise party with Gulf shrimp and a whole house full of dear friends including “Uncle” David Briggs (the gourmet chef!) from Oregon, who lived with our family from May till August. He took care of video work, deck building, making supper, etc. and was greatly appreciated. After the party, everyone came up to Clear Lake Hospital to meet ME: 9 lb. 5 oz., 20” and looking just like all my siblings, of course. A big thanks to Candy, Russell, Woody, Vicki, Bill, Adam, Rachel, Ricky, and Laura for helping Mommy pull off the surprise!

In early July, I took my first long road trip to meet my grandparents in Iowa. Grandpa Al says I have double swirling cowlicks just like his! Daddy took my brother Philip for a long train trip with Uncles Don and Charles, Aunts Connie, Marilyn and Lois and cousin Signe’s Kari and Debbie Jo to beautiful Glacier National Park. Mommy, Tim, and I stayed at Grandma’s and my big brother Aaron went to the B.J. Armstrong Basketball Camp at Luther College for a week. Then, all of the above joined our cousins Astrid and her kids, and Signe, Dan, and Darrin, and family friend Don Garbe for a family outing to Wisconsin Dells. I was a good traveler. Daddy flew back to Texas, so Mommy and “us boys” drove back home later. Rachel didn’t come with us because she was working all summer at PC Connexion , a computer store, in League City. She was saving money for married life with her sweetheart Adam Richard Strzelecki...

We first met Adam on Feb. 17, my brother Tim’s second birthday. He and Rachel arrived home that day following a hair-raising adventure. The car they were driving was side-swiped by a “half house” being transported down the freeway. The driver just didn’t see them when he changed lanes... Her Nissan Stanza received considerable damage, but they were, thankfully, not hurt! Following the accident, we had a long period of time where Rachel used Mommy’s Subaru and Daddy had a rental car. During that time, the rental car was broken into right in our driveway! Some items were stolen, but they didn’t check the trunk, which was loaded with video equipment!!!

Adam and Rachel announced their engagement in May and they got married Sunday, August 25. (I slept through most of the wedding, as you can see by our fine photo. I look around a lot more now...) Rachel and Adam had a beautiful wedding. Brother Aaron was best man, Adam’s sister Lisa was maid of honor, Philip was ring bearer and Rachael Edelman, family friend, was flower girl. They “honeymooned” through Arkansas, ending up in Waukon for a reception Saturday with family and friends. ( Mommy talked to many of them on the phone that day.) The next day, they had a reception with Adam’s family and friends in Chicago Heights, Ill. (Adam’s mom, sister Lisa, Aunt Pat and Uncle Rich came to Texas for the wedding, which made it extra special. ) On their return from Chicago, they stayed overnight in Memphis (yes, Graceland). Then, they came to my house, loaded a U-Haul with some “vintage” furnishings, and their many greatly appreciated wedding gifts and moved in to 700 East Central Texas Expressway, #1312, Harker Heights, Texas 76548 Phone 817/699-8147.

The Strezelecki’s came for Thanksgiving along with former neighbor Martin Howland, church friends Bill Ralph, Cheryl Andrews, and their four kids. (Daddy had the great idea to put the dining room table in the living room for the day. ) The following day, Rachel and Adam were suddenly called to Chicago, as his dad Richard underwent emergency brain surgery. He is doing much better and they are back home at Fort Hood, where Adam works with tanks and other BIG equipment in the Army. He thinks his group will be going to Kuwait in February for several months of training. Rachel and he are deciding what she should do while he is gone. They don’t think she should stay at Fort Hood with him away...

Mommy stayed home with me and Tim the first six weeks of school. Mrs. Alicia Franks was her substitute and did a super job with her students, who are an especially wonderful group of kids. I started my day care career with “ Sonshine” at the church right next door to Mommy’s school. After a couple of weeks, that group of friends transferred to a location farther away. Since Mommy and I like the nursing mother routine, she wanted me close by for her 30 minute lunch break, so we stayed at the church which opened a new daycare: “ Children’s Corner.” Timmy and I are doing a great job with our new teachers and friends. My brother Tim is very smart for a two year old and can talk a lot. He likes all the Toy Story characters and has to be closely supervised at all times. He likes to give me hugs that are a little too tight, if you know what I mean.

Most every day, we make a loop around the bay area to pick up/drop off Aaron at high school. He has basketball practice and games with the sophomore team. He takes Spanish, geometry, physical science, English, and geography, but his favorite class is basket ball. Soon he will be taking driver’s ed., but he doesn’t think our family has vehicle is “cool” enough for him to be seen in, but he’s a great big brother, anyway. He is 6’3” and has size 15 shoes that Mommy thinks I will grow into before too long....

Philip (7) is a cool, toothless first grader learning to read. He loves football, baseball, basketball, and rough-housing with his brothers. He's excited about Christmas and hopes to get a Nintendo 64! Dad says the store was out of them so he won’t be getting that!

Tim, who will be three in February, is very smart and verbal, and ‘tough’ from wrestling with his older brothers. Dad thinks he ‘pouts’ too much though. He’s a good, big brother and loves me very much.

Mom thinks that I (Ben) look just like all my other siblings. She says that I have been a delightful baby so far. Every work day, mom takes me to Children’s Corner Day Care with brother Tim right next door to mommy’s school in Texas City. Mom tells me that it’s her turn to write so... here she is...

We have a new area code so please change your address books to reflect these new numbers:

Home: 281/332-5733

Fax: 281/554-2581

Jon wanted me to be sure and mention the website for his video business at:

We hope this holiday greeting finds you rejoicing in spirit, even if certain circumstances may look bleak. We never know what the future may bring, but we know Who holds the future...

Merry Christmas!

Jon, Sharon, Rachel & Adam, Aaron, Philip, Tim and Ben

PS> Our snail mail address is: 303 Creek Bend - League City, TX 77573. We'd love to hear from you!