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Frank & Betsy Christmas Letter 1999

 

Dear Family & Friends,

 I can't believe it has been a whole year already since I wrote to everyone.  So much happened to us in 1999 that it is going to be hard to consolidate it all into a letter.  It was definitely a year to remember.  It was filled with new experiences and life altering decisions.

 The beginning of the year was basically uneventful with the exception of our second trip to Myrtle Beach to stay with Frank's grandmother.  We had a wonderful time.  The weather was so beautiful that it was hard to come back to the harsh reality of winter in New York.

 In the spring, I helped to reform the Hornell Area Council on the Disabled.  I had been a member of the group since its inception in 1984, but the group had disbanded in 1993.  We accomplished a lot this year.  We helped the city of Hornell in its redesigning of our downtown parking which fixed the curbs and included many additional handicapped parking spaces.  The group organized its first wheelchair basketball exhibition this summer.  We also were there for the opening of the newly remodeled public library.  An addition was built which included an elevator so that people in wheelchairs could finally use its facilities.

 In June, we took a whirlwind weekend trip to Detroit, Michigan.  We went to the wedding of two people that met and fell in love on the internet.  I met them through the on-line game that we all play.  It was a very touching ceremony.  The bride is totally blind and her seeing eye dog was the ring bearer.  Unfortunately we were unable to stay more than one day.  But it was exciting because neither of us had ever been west of New York.  We went to Michigan by way of Pennsylvania and Ohio but came home through Canada.  So we got to see a lot of new sites.  

Two weeks later, we celebrated our 10th wedding anniversary.  We went to Atlantic City, New Jersey for 8 days.  We had the time of our lives there.  We had a suite in a hotel located right on the Boardwalk.  Everyday we would get up and walk a mile and a half along the beach to the casinos and shops.  The first day we played the slot machines we won over $100.  We spent a lot of our time shopping and gambling at the slot machines.  We also went to a drive-thru animal safari.  That was so much fun!  We had giraffes eating snacks off of the roof of the van, ostriches were pecking at the windows and monkeys were swinging from the side mirrors.  We took a ferry to Delaware and then a bus to the area shops.  That was a lot of fun.  On the ferry back to New Jersey, they served us really nice dinner on the upper deck.  A storm blew in and the water got very choppy.  Frank had forgotten to put on the brakes on my chair.  When the boat tipped suddenly, I went rolling across the dining room and got within inches of wiping out the buffet table before Frank caught me.  It was pretty hilarious.  All the other diners saw it happen.  Our last night there, we went to see Jay Leno at the Taj Mahal.  He was very funny.  After his show, we decided to try our luck at the roulette table for the first time.  We stayed there most of the night.  We won about $200.  The next morning we packed the van and went back to the tables for a couple hours and won another $50.  But "Lady Luck" was really with us on our drive home.  Just after we went through a tunnel on the Pennsylvania Turnpike, we came upon a very large wing-back armchair lying in the road.  The car in front of us swerved and missed it.  We didn't have enough room to go around it because the traffic was so heavy.  But Frank managed to only hit it on the corner of the van.  We hit it doing approximately 65 mph.  The chair exploded.  We were lucky.  It only left a small dent, broke the grill and gave us a flat tire.  We were so lucky.  It could have been so much worse.  I still shudder when I think of what could have happened.

 Frank basically spent all of July at the bank.  Steuben Trust Co. built a brand new main office.  Frank was responsible for setting up the new computer room and moving all of the computers to the new location.  It was a very stressful time for him.  I was so proud of him during the grand opening.  During the move, Frank was approached by Erie BOCES in West Seneca with a job offer as a network & computer technician for the Steuben/Allegany area.  He was so busy with the bank he turned it down.  Two weeks later, they hand delivered a job application to our house saying that they held open the job two more weeks.  He really wasn't interested.  But on a whim one night, I started pulling together his resume.  I knew he had been depressed about the way things were going at the bank.  After he saw all of his accomplishments written down on paper, he began to feel better.  He decided to interview for the job just as a morale booster.  He had a terrific interview.  I could tell the moment I saw him after the interview that he really wanted the job.  We spent the next 2 1/2 weeks waiting to hear from Erie.  Finally the call came.  They offered him the job.  We spent the next few days agonizing over the decision.  It was not an easy decision to make.  It was scary to change our life so suddenly.  It was by far the most difficult decision that we had ever made.  After weighing the options, he took the job.  Handing in his resignation letter to the bank, was highly emotional for both of us.  We both shed many, many tears.  Frank had worked there for over 12 years.  He had invested a huge part of himself in his job there.  There were so many memories at the bank, but Erie BOCES was able to offer not only a large raise in pay but also complete health care for me.  We couldn't turn it down.  The bank held a two day party in Frank's honor which was really nice.   He started working his new job September 20th.  He works 3 days in the Hornell School system, 1 day in the Bath schools and 1 day in the Canaseraga school.  He loves his new job and wishes he had switched sooner.  He only has to work 37 1/2 hours per week plus the job has a lot less stress than working at the bank.  Frank is like a new man.  He is much happier and more relaxed than he has been in years.  The only down side of the job is that 2 days per week he has to travel and I am all alone. This has been a huge life altering change for both of us, but we don't have any regrets.

The worst thing that has happened is I came down with a cold right after Frank started his new job.  It developed into the worst cold I have had in several years.  I am still wheezing and coughing.  I'm hoping to shake it for good before the holidays are here. 

I hope that this year has been as good to you and your family as it has been to ours.   We feel very blessed.  We wish a very Merry Christmas and may the new Millennium bring you peace & joy.

 Love,

Betsy & Frank