Merry Christmas 1998 and Happy New Year 1999!

The year actually started a little early, December 30, 1997 to be exact, with a wonderful gathering of relatives, including 3 of Dad's brothers, at our house for a post-Christmas dessert party. Uncle Gordon brought a bunch of old (some dating back to the turn of the century) family photos, which we spent the night scanning into the computer. I also put them up on the Internet for all to enjoy. Have a look next time you're online!

The first big news of the 1998 itself was Matt's high school graduation in June. After 4 years at Center High School, it was time to call it quits, so he and 300 or so classmates took the long walk to receive their diploma facsimile in front of a capacity crowd at Gerety stadium. Brad was part of the festivities as well, as he played Pomp and Circumstance in the concert band. It was also a pleasure to see Matt's girlfriend Amber Rickner graduate along with him.

The graduation also marked the culmination of a springtime's worth of work on the backyard, getting our lot prepared, sprinklers installed and sod laid. After four years of looking at a weed-laden yard, it was nice to have a different view. Still lots more to do, but that crucial first step was taken.

Our new pool's inaugural summer came and went, and so did over 100 guests, at three different functions. First, we opened up our home and pool on July 11 to about 40 Todd Rundgren (who?) fans at the 4th annual ToddFest/West. We partied for nearly 12 hours on Saturday, and then Cece and Roger had to get up the next morning to fly to Portland, Oregon for brother Mike's wedding. We came to the wedding armed with a secret locked in our hearts: that son Matt was to ask for Amber's hand in marriage on the following Tuesday. He had broke the news to us the morning of the ToddFest! Well, Mike's wedding came off, we had a nice visit and got back in time to see what Amber's answer would be. She said yes! But don't send any wedding cards just yet, they plan to wait until they both graduate from college, which would put the wedding sometime around 2002. But we had to wait to tell our secret, the rest of the family was still on vacation!

Since it had been only a couple of days since our last big pool party, we decided to do it again on July 18. This time, it was a gathering of friends from church, with about 35 people for swimming, barbecue and just good old fellowship. We decided to take the next weekend off, but lo and behold, Dad's 70th birthday was coming up on August 2, so the party machine rolled into action once more. All of the local relatives were able to come and another great time was had. And finally, Matt's big announcement: he and Amber were engaged! Grandma and Grandpa only got the news a few minutes before everyone else started to arrive, so it was a double celebration.

All partied out, we spent the rest of the summer relaxing, and enjoying our new backyard. But fall arrived and it was time for back to school. This time, however, Matt wasn't just going down the street, it was across town to California State University, Sacramento, to begin his studies as a music major. Brad was off to his second year at CenterHigh, and Cece was still stuck in Junior High, but that's OK, because she's an Instructional Assistant in the Special Day Class. Roger was not to be left out, he took a Java programming class for work. Amber was off to school as well, but she went to Sonoma State, about a two hour's drive away. What's a young couple to do with this situation? Well, they trade off just about every weekend - either her coming back home, or Matt going there to visit. Ah, young love!

With the fall came Marching Band season, and Brad was again a member. This year, he played mellophone, a trumpet-like instrument with a large bell. The band performed selections from "Cats" and wrapped up the season with a first-place finish in their division at a competition in Napa. The performance was extremely moving and still gives me "Memories" each time I think of it.

Matt's in the concert band at Sac State, and gave two performances this year as well. And what a step up from High School! A very enjoyable program. He also plans to return to the Music Team at church this winter after a short hiatus, playing bass guitar. In the interim, Dad Roger had to dust off his chops and step in.

The year (so far) closed much the way it began, a big family dessert party, this time at Uncle Marvin's, and the special guests were Gordon and Beverly, celebrating their 25th anniversary. A wonderful way to wrap it all up!

Here's wishing you the best of the Holiday Season and all of 1999!

The Linder Family

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