Our Family Christmas Letter For 2000!

Adam Richard Strzelecki, Jr. "AJ"
June 29, 1998 - March 21, 2000

"For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also…." Matthew 6:21

Tuesday, March 21 started out like any other day teaching kindergarten in Texas City. Early in the morning, I received an e-mail from a friend that was titled, "If…" and had lines in it like, "If you never knew pain, how would you know I am your Healer?" and "If you never knew sadness, how would you know I am your Comforter?" I thought of several friends going through hard times and clicked the "send button" little knowing what lay ahead that very day….

At 3 o'clock as I was preparing for bus duty, my principal approached me and said, "I'll do your bus duty. Your husband is in my office. He needs to talk with you right away." You must know that Jon rarely visits me at work. The last time that he came in this manner, he had come to tell me that my dad had died, so I had the feeling that it was something bad…

As I walked the long corridor to the office, I wondered, was it my mom…or one of my five children ages 3 to 24…or my son-in-law in Chicago? Alone in the office, my husband told me the incomprehensible -- my precious 21 month old grandson, A.J., had an accident at his home. His dresser had somehow tilted on his neck and the paramedics could not revive him.

Suddenly in a moment our lives were turned upside down. How do you tell your sons that their nephew is dead? How do you comfort your daughter when your heart is broken, too? What do you say to your three-year-old granddaughter when she wants to know when her little brother is coming home? 

When grief overwhelmed me, my "angels" took over - Darlene Prince took care of airline reservations when I couldn't read a phone number; my neighbors brought food when I couldn't think to cook; my colleagues at work took care of my classroom. At the funeral in Chicago, I walked up to the small white casket with Benjamin, my three-year-old, for a last look at our precious boy in Blue's Clues overalls wrapped in his favorite blanket. Wondering how Ben would comprehend, he looked up at me and said, "Mommy, why is A.J. in the treasure chest?" 

The lives we are given are a "treasure" and the truth of the matter is we all live in temporary bodies and have no idea when our time on this earth will be over… Meanwhile, part of my heart has gone on ahead… 

In the days, weeks and months that have followed when waves of sadness come again, you "angels" have continued to supply timely e-mails, hugs and shoulders to cry on, prayers of comfort and peace. Through all of life, we continue to hold on to Jesus. He holds back!

Silver Wedding Anniversary

June 7, 2000 marked our 25th wedding anniversary and October 18 was the 30th anniversary of our first date (a Luther League hay ride). Five kids ago, when we were "young," we believed it was "for keeps" and that with God's help, "we" would last… We celebrated the occasions with a whirlwind tour of Scandinavia!

Jon's brother Don and wife Lois, sisters Connie and Marilyn, brother-in-law, Charles, one nephew, two nieces, and Philip were along. The eleven of us spent many long happy miles riding the bus through Denmark, Norway, Sweden, Germany, and Prague in the Czech Republic. We dined at the awe-inspiring fjords, the harbor at Oslo and the Royal Copenhagen tea room. Seeing the changing of the guard at the palace in Stockholm, the Little Mermaid, meeting up with some high school friends (Halers) on the return plane in Luxembourg, and getting reacquainted with family made it a very memorable trip.

Meanwhile, Ben stayed in Iowa with Grandma Irene, Tim stayed in Chicago with Rachel, Adam, and Kayla, and Aaron stayed in Houston courtesy of Harris County. That meant that over a three-week time period, we set foot in nine states and seven foreign countries…. Uff da! But, we would go again in a minute!

Business as Usual

Following involuntary severance from BP Amoco in 1999, Jon is having a blast with his video businesses: Keepsake Video, serving consumers, VTI--for all your corporate needs and AVC, our newest acquisition. AVC provides rental of audio-visual equipment. Jon now has a whole different, but related, array of equipment and skills to be learned. He especially enjoys his 'new' 1993 Suburban with "VIDEO" license plates and our logos painted on the windows. He also has fun being "Mr. Mom" while Sharon is teaching kindergarten for her 19th year in Texas City. He also enjoys reading the Left Behind series of books and is currently finishing 'The Mark'.

Philip (11, grade 5) and Tim (6, first grade) keep busy with baseball/basketball and video games. Ben (4, pre-K) enjoys pre-school three days a week and his many playmates in the neighborhood. Aaron (19, a senior) plans to graduate high school this year. Rachel has recently taken a secretarial position in a law firm. Adam keeps busy with pipe fitting work, school, and hunting. Kayla will be 4 in February and is doing beautifully at her pre-school. They have a strong faith that sustains them.

The Flood

In early August, a water pipe in the kitchen burst while we were away to church. The result was about ten weeks of chaos amidst the start of a new school year. Things are back to "normal," if that's what to call what we have… The kitchen and living rooms have been redone and the newness is fresh and exciting. 

You are perpetually invited to visit us. Come anytime. We love having company. We love hearing from you. We are available by e-mail at: jon@keepsake-video.com or sharon@keepsake-video.com. For a walk down memory lane, you can also visit the Aldrich Home Page at: www.jonaldrich.com 

Christmas Comes

Once again, I bow as kings and shepherds bowed and once again, the "long ago" becomes the "here and now."


Imagine what our joy will be like when we see Him coming again in all His glory! As it is written, 'Eye has not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God has prepared for them that love Him.'  I Corinthians 2:9

We hope your New Year is filled with all the treasures of life and especially, 

Jesus - our Greatest Treasure.

With our love and fond regards - the Aldrich's - Jon (Craig), Sharon, Aaron, Philip, Tim and Ben