Letters: Christmas 1996

Christmas 1996

Merry Christmas Everyone!
       Well, this year sure went by fast. It seems like just last month I was trying to come up with an opening paragraph to my annual holiday letter. A year has passed though and what am I going to write about this time. Wait a minute, I've already written quite a bit and, with my next sentence, it should be enough! So, here's what happened in my life during the year of 1996.
       Not much occurred throughout the first month of the year. I was in between semesters at college and I still did not have a job. About the only thing that I did do in January was apply and register for classes at California State University Stanislaus in Turlock. I decided to take two math and two physics courses for a total of fifteen semester hours.
       The spring semester started in February and I was comfortable in all but one of my classes. After two weeks of not understanding a single thing in my Classical Mechanics class, I decided to drop it. Then, as if someone actually wanted me to feel worse, my brand new two month old motorcycle helmet was stolen. I bought another one though and never let it out of my sight again.
       On March 1, the board of directors at Thomas Edison State College in New Jersey reviewed my file and awarded me a B.S. in Nuclear Engineering Technology. It felt great to have finally completed the program and receive a degree. Later in the month, I was hired part time at Environmental Management and Controls (EMC) which is a company that processes radioactive waste. It really surprised me to find a place like this near home and next to a dairy and cornfield.
       In April, while riding my motorcycle from work to school in the rain, I lost traction while turning and crashed. I was going slow and there wasn't much damage so I decided to continue on my way to class. A few hours later I discovered that my arm had broken (near my right elbow) during the accident, which explained all the pain that I was feeling. The fracture did not require a cast, which is fortunate, since I don't have any medical insurance. Just a week and a half later, I hopped back on my recently repaired bike for a rode trip. The first day I stopped at Oakland to attend the Wondercon which is a Sci-Fi/comic convention. That night I stayed at a motel and the next day I headed down to Laguna Seca for the AMA Superbike races. It was a great trip but my arm was killing me on the way home.
       By the time May came around I was really getting tired of school. So it wasn't terribly disappointing when I found out that I was not accepted at either of the two graduate schools where I applied. With my dreams of scientific stardom ruined I decided that I would start working full time at EMC when the semester ended in June. My sister Sherry graduated around this time and, to celebrate both of our shiny new diplomas, we went with our Mother to Yosemite National Park for the weekend. I really love this park and went on a great hike up to Glacier Point and around three waterfalls. I walked for a distance of about fourteen miles but without the extreme elevation changes on last year's hike up to Half Dome. June also marked the one year anniversary for my release from the Navy. Sometimes I think that those six years were just a dream, well maybe a nightmare. Compared to my military service, my new job with eight hour work days and weekends off seems like a vacation.
       July was a very busy month for me. Just like last year I went to Laguna Seca to see the World Superbike races and camped at the track. This time though my friend Gerry was able to meet me there and we had a great time. When I returned it was time for Shauna's (a high school friend) and Lance's wedding. The ceremony was very nice and at the reception I sat with two of my high school teachers. My old English teacher even bought me a beer. Wow, I must be an adult now! That same weekend I also started moving into my new apartment in Turlock. I'm not sure where I accumulated all of my belongings (junk) but it took eight truck loads to get it all to my new pad. That is including my new furniture and all the stuff that had been in the attic for years. Next time I will try to remember not to move in July because it was HOT!
       The next two months were spent working and trying new beer. In August I went to the Summerfest in Sacramento and in September I went to the Berkeley BrewFest where I met Lee Ann who is another friend from high school. Also in September I visited all of my relatives in Oregon with my Mother. I had a wonderful time and I especially enjoyed the visit to the Wild River Brewing Co.
       In October I stopped by the local DMV to apply for a commercial drivers license permit. I had to take a couple of the tests twice but I finally passed. Also this month I went to an Octoberfest in Modesto with my parents. On Halloween I painted my hair blue in the morning and went to work. The rest of my family also painted their hair and we took pictures to remember how great we all looked. I thought I looked pretty cool with blue hair. Maybe I'll get it dyed someday. Naw.
       My behind the wheel driving test was scheduled for November and I passed with flying colors. I am now a class B driver and about once a week I take the companies truck to pick up waste in the Bay area. December 5 just went by last week and I turned 25 years old. I had a nice birthday except that I had to work of course.
       That is it for the past, now for the future. The Star Wars trilogy is being re-released in theaters everywhere soon. All three films will have updated special effects, digital sound and new never before seen footage. Star Wars comes out Jan. 31, 1997; Empire Strikes Back on Feb. 21, 1997; and Return of the Jedi on Mar. 7, 1997. So get on line now before they get to long.
       I hope everyone has a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year! Until next time.
       Love,
       Bill

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