Once upon a time, on a computer retired long, long ago, it was born.
Just after Thanksgiving in 1994, we got a Christmas card from someone that contained a letter that offered a “year in review” summary. We can’t remember who sent it to us, but we do remember that it inspired us. We’d been married about 4 years at that point, and had started to lose touch with some of our friends and family. So we decided to give it a shot, and The Bridegroom Report was born.
The first issue was a one-page, front and back document. As we’ve contended for many years, we really do lead pretty boring lives, and the inaugural issue certainly proved that. A pretty ho-hum report, with all of the basics: who’s working where, what are we doing to keep ourselves busy, any kids, any pets, etc.
It was the second issue in 1995 where the Report really started to take shape, presented in the newspaper-style layout you see today. As we do every year, we went back to the previous year to see what we wrote. We came to the conclusion that is was boring, and needed some humor. We were on our way back to Fishers from a trip “home” to NW Indiana, with Cathy driving and Sam typing. Most the year was occupied with Clyde stories, so we thought “Why not start with something about Clyde?” So we came up with the text, and laughed our asses off when we read it back to ourselves. Then we had to come up with a title. Then we decided to toss in a picture, and maybe a headline. The next thing you know, it started to look like a newspaper story.
So we decided to go with a newspaper format – we thought an 11″ x 17″ paper folded in half would look pretty newspaper-ish, but that meant we needed to come up with four pages of content versus the previous year’s two pages. After very little discussion, we decided we could ramble on enough to fill up that much space. One of the things we worried about, though, was the Report coming across as a “we love us” kind of thing. As a result, we tried pretty hard (and continue to do so) to make sure that we were able to update everyone on the year’s events (with our own brand of self-depreciating humor, of course) without sounding full of ourselves.
And so the Report began to take shape – and we heard about it. We got phone calls and cards from a lot of people, saying they thought the Report was “a hoot”, and that they were looking forward to next year’s issue. That’s when the pressure set in – now we HAD to do it every year.
Oddly enough, we were able to recover our first two issues in late 2003. The electronic source files for them cannot be found, but we were able to uncover original copies of the 1994 and 1995 issues. They’ve since been scanned in as Adobe PDF’s, and are available on this site.
Since 1995, we’ve pretty much stayed with the four-page format. About the only differences have been improvements in the layout, the addition of pictures and maybe some better writing. The only exception has been the 2001 “Double Issue”, which was eight pages. We unfortunately could not send a Report in 2000, as we were too busy trying to move into Pug Hollow (before it was called Pug Hollow). We heard from a lot of people about not receiving a Report – apparently, there were quite a few that really looked forward to reading it. So we doubled up and reported two years in 2001 – and we vowed never to miss a year again, because the postage and printing costs were almost funny. Our best estimate is that we printed & mailed 150 issues in 2001 (you do the math).
Over the years, certain traditions have developed that surround the creation, publication and distribution of the Report:
- We usually wait until about December 10th or 11th (sometimes later) to start writing. We work better under pressure (that’s our story and we’re sticking with it).
- About two days later, we proofread the Report and get it off to Kinko’s for printing.
- Somewhere around December 19th (give or take a couple of days), the addressing, stamping and stuffing begins. We’ll get started about 9:00 PM, and go until we’re all done – which is usually sometime around 2:00 AM.
- The Bridegroom Report Web Site gets updated the day the issued get mailed, putting in the latest editions of the report and any web-only extras that need to be included.
- Two days later, we’ll find a typo in the Report, which pi$$es Sam off to no end.
One nice tradition that we think has come of this effort is that we don’t buy Christmas cards anymore; the Report has now taken the place of the cards (and the presents) for just about everyone on the distribution list.
With each generation of the Report, though, we do try to improve not only the content but how we get it assembled and delivered to everyone. As a direct result of the printing and postage fiasco of 2001, we decided to work a little harder at sending the Report electronically. In 2003 (the 10th Anniversary Issue), we finally sent out The Bridegroom Report Electronic Edition to as many e-mail address as we could verify. Included with the Electronic Edition of the Report was a PDF photo album, containing images from the year. This was something we’ve wanted to do for years, but printing and postage costs made it prohibitive. Now all we need to do is to figure out how to deliver the album in a smaller file, since the mailing actually crashed the Bridegroom Technologies mail server on the first attempt. The technical support department at Bridegroomtech.com was not at all happy about the situation.
By the way, if you’re not on the electronic mailing list already, please let us know so we can add you to it. We’d hate to deprive any mildly interested party of our annual ramblings.
So that’s the story, thanks for taking the time to read it.