messing family picture
1996 1997 1999 2006 2007

Dear Friends & Family,

We didn't do a card/letter last year as it was a tough time for the Messing family. Howard's mom passed away just after Thanksgiving, 1998 and, at the same time, we were quite worried about Sam's knee. (He had Osteochondritis Dissecans but is fully recovered with no lasting effects expected). This year has been much better.

Sam (age 12) continues to do well in both regular and Hebrew school, having just made the honor roll and receiving a commendation letter from the principal for his efforts. His knee problems last winter caused a temporary halt to athletic activities, but he's getting back into that again with the town swimming team. (We tell him that video games are not a sport!) Favorite courses at school are science and French. He continues his interest in aviation. Last summer he started flying radio controlled model airplanes. Over Thanksgiving, he and his dad flew to Florida in our plane and Sam did some of the navigating and is beginning to learn how to work the radios. In January he'll begin formal preparation for his Bar Mitzvah, which is scheduled for next September.

Lauren (age 14), too, is doing well now (a case of mononucleosis last spring put her out of commission for quite a while). She just received her first grades as a High Schooler...she was a bit worried but needn't have been...she made the honor roll, too! We're very proud of how she's doing. Her interest in drama is as strong as ever. This fall she appeared in a play at school, "Fire in the Hole", about union organizing in the coal mines in the early part of this century. It's both startling and inspiring to see your children begin to tackle serious issues! She's excited about the next play, "Wasp" as she will have one of the leading roles, that of Katherine, a ditzy teenage girl. She's playing the flute again and taking singing lessons, so it's clear that the performing arts hold a big appeal for her. The only thing that Howard's not too happy about is this boy named Mike who seems to be calling a lot!

Besides running the household, Colleen's interest in tennis and golf continues to grow. She even acquired her first trophy ever as her Tuesday night golf team won first place overall! She remains co-President of the Westwood Educational Foundation, a local charity that raises money to support various educational/civic initiatives within our town that can't find money elsewhere (e.g. special projects by teachers, or seed money for the town's web page, etc.). In addition, she still has a passion for the arts as evidenced by her continued involvement in the Society of Arts and Crafts where she is a trustee. Their big annual fundraiser, Serendipity, is co-chaired by Colleen. This year they raised over $60,000 at this event. (It's a fun evening, as couples and individuals buy a ticket that entitles them to take home a piece of art that has been donated to the Society by the artist). On top of all this, Colleen is V.P. of the local chapter of P.E.O., plays bridge and tennis once a week, and is in a book club (just having finished Anna Karenina and Vladimir Nabokov's critique of Russian literature). Staying busy does not seem like much of a problem.

Howard's first priority besides his family, remains, as always,MEDITECH. Financially the company remains strong. There are lots of interesting things going on — the Y2K hysteria and the Internet and all the changes in healthcare make for a dramatic time. This fall he celebrated his 25th anniversary with the company. He is one of a handful of ‘half-lifers’ at MEDITECH having spent more than half his life there. The challenges remain rewarding and he is very optimistic about the future both of MEDITECH and of his continued involvement with the company. Outside of work, Howard remains involved with our town's government, joining the Finance Commission last Spring. This has proved to be very interesting as there is a major, somewhat controversial project in town, the construction of a new high school. This is about as close as you can get to pure democracy in action. Howard is still an overseer at the Boston Museum of Science and on the Program committee there, as well as maintaining some involvement at Temple Beth David. Flying and Internet surfing remain his other two big activities.

Reuben, our African grey parrot (or rather, Colleen's parrot) continues to amaze and entertain us. He now talks a lot, his favorite phrases being ’Dad's the best‘, ’Meditech-tech-tech‘, and all of our names. When the phone rings he says ’Hello‘ and he has been known to say ’Lauren are you up yet‘ (wonder how he learned that!). He will climb up into bed with Colleen and lie on his back and let her rub his stomach (do parrot's have stomachs?)

While Howard misses his mom, Colleen's parents remain active and healthy and a big part of our lives. They have just celebrated their 60th wedding anniversary and are still active in their community, drive, and come visit us several times a year. They are a pleasure and a joy to be with. Merritt, Howard's stepfather is also well and active. He's moved to Jacksonville to be near one of his son's and lives in a beautiful independent living apartment there. Howard and Sam had a nice visit with him a month ago.

That about wraps it up....we wish all of you a happy and healthy millenium! Sam, Lauren, Colleen, Howard & Reuben