Looking back on 1998

December 2, 1998

It hardly seems like a decade ago that we published our first edition of The Gehlke Times to keep all our friends and family members up to date on our activities of the year gone by. Back then, in 1988, we were preparing to celebrate our first Christmas together as newlyweds in our first apartment in Manteca, California. Both of us were just getting started in careers, still making frequent commutes to the Bay Area to visit Glenn's and Roni's folks. Benji wasn't even a glimmer in our eyes back then. In fact, we seriously contemplated a childless future early in our marriage. That, of course, changed when Benji came along six years later. Parenthood has had its ups and downs at times, but now it is hard to think of ourselves as anything but a threesome.

Ten years changes a person. It changes your values and your outlook on life. It makes you appreciate the things you have and nostalgic for the way things were. It mellows your fondest and most painful experiences. And it makes you wonder where you will be in another 10 years, and so on and so on.

If that's what 10 years does, then what does one year do? It sneaks up on you, and then in a seeming instant it is gone. Part of your history. Twelve months of little changes that by themselves seem inconsequential until you add them all together over several years and realize what they have done for you or to you.

In 1998 we found it harder to find time, like so many people in the world today. Between Roni's volumes of work at home and Glenn's odd work hours away from home, schedules occasionally conflicted and made the days never seem long enough.

But the time we were able to make for each other was usually time well spent. There were weekend getaways to the Sierras and southern California, picnics at the park, a trip to the movies, long walks to the yogurt shop or video store, a train trip to Oakland, A BART ride to San Francisco, birthday parties, holiday dinners. There was time for talking, occasionally time for relaxing, but no time to waste.

In 1998 we learned how to entertain ourselves through a rainy season that lasted nearly half the year. El Niño drenched our lives from November until mid-June. We were all ecstatic when the sun finally shone for more than a few hours of the day. Progress on outdoor home improvement projects was limited, but Roni's garden was a bright spot. Undaunted by the late arrival of warm weather, she quickly planted a variety of veggies and flowers and was rewarded with a bumper crop of tomatoes, lettuce, watermelon and jalapeño peppers, among others.

In August, Roni became the Oakley columnist for the Brentwood News. Talk about coming full-circle! It was just four years ago that Glenn left the semi-weekly News as editor to climb the corporate ladder into a position on a daily paper. Now Roni is carrying the journalistic torch as she writes about community groups and their activities. She enjoys the challenge of producing a weekly column, and the work brings in a little extra cash, which is always nice to have.

Glenn, meanwhile, cultivated his interest in trains and model railroading. There were many family outings to railroad-related destinations, including model shows and days chasing trains to capture them on film or videotape. An interest in computers and the Internet inspired the creation of this web site during September and opened the door to meeting others through the growing online community. Crazy hours at work just seemed to lead to crazy hours at home. If you ever pay attention to the update times on many of these pages you'll realize most were posted in the wee hours of the morning. When you work from 3 or 4 in the afternoon to around midnight or 1 a.m., the hours of 1 to 3 a.m. are the equivalent of prime time. There is an up side to such a schedule, however, and that is in the ability to do things as a family during the early afternoon when most (sane) people are at work.

Benji perhaps saw the most changes during the year. After all, when you are 4, a year is a quarter of a lifetime. Our little guy continued his love for trains and found himself in railfan heaven with the gift of a large HO collection from his Aunt Donna and Uncle Pete in Pennsylvania. That led to the creation of an HO layout in his bedroom and a redecorating job that gave him a room full of colorful walls and train logos. For a photo of the layout, check out the second photo on Ben's Train Room page.

Benji also started preschool in October, but by November he had changed programs to A Child's Place in Oakley because the one he started attending in Antioch didn't work out. He is having a difficult time adjusting to being away from Mom and Dad for a few hours, but we have faith in his ability to handle the situation once he starts to feel comfortable around other kids.

We're thankful for getting through another year with only minor bumps and bruises and a few personal triumphs. We eagerly look forward to 1999 and hope to send out the millennium on a high note. Here's hoping all of you do the same.

Merry Christmas, Happy New Year and best wishes always.

Glenn, Roni and Benji

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