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Introduction from the Book

About the Family

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About Us

Introduction from the Book
He must have been thinking about the question for a while, as it came out succinctly for a 5-year old. As I woke Ben early on the morning of the day after Thanksgiving, 1992, he asked, with both curiosity and incredulity: "Dad, why can't we go to CVS and buy postcards like everyone else?"

How do you explain a family ritual that no other family on earth observes? There's no fall back to... 'Because our ancestors have done it for generations.' The more accurate explanation, 'The reason that we stand in front of road signs in the middle of interstate highways each year is because your daddy made it up,' seems a bit hollow at 6:30 AM.

At least for me, a New Years card solved an important problem. Christmas cards don't work well if you're Jewish and Hannukah cards can't be sent to people if they're not. New Years cards work for everyone. And so, each year for the past three decades, our family has risen early on the day after Thanksgiving to take pictures of ourselves in front of a route sign that corresponds to the coming New Year. We then select one of them to become a postcard that reconnects us annually to family and friends.

The tradition began in 1979 at the intersection of Interstate Routes 79 and 80 about an hour north of our home in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Since then, we've traveled to five states and hundreds of villages, back roads and intersections and in so doing, have chronicled 30* points along the time line of our family's growth from the birth of our children to our present "Empty Nester" status.

This did not begin as a grand vision for a 30-year project. It evolved one year at a time, creating its own inertia, weaving itself into the fabric of our family's history. As we've passed each of these points, a once uncharted future has become our past, and as we watch these moments recede in our rear view mirror, we recall them with wonder and appreciation.

This compilation is not meant to be a recommendation to visit road signs on interstate highways. Rather, it is a close-up look at how a simple idea can take on a life of its own to become a part of a family's history and a connection with our "Fellow Travelers."

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About the Family
Dan Droz, husband, father and chief tripod minder has been responsible for explaining why we need to get out of the car one more time, why it doesn't matter if your hair isn't combed and ultimately taking the heat when the final picture is not acceptable to one or more family members. He is also president of Droz and Associates (drozmarketing.com), a marketing communications firm that helps clients build their brands through market planning, corporate identity, print, interactive media, PR and events when not distracted from the important work of orchestrating family photographs.

Cathy Cohen Droz, wife, mother and whip smart administrator of all family affairs including games, food, maternal support, conflict resolution and complex on-road navigation and is further responsible for pointing out that New Years cards are not the most important thing in life and if they don't turn out perfectly, there's always next year. She is also special projects director for Family Communications, producers of Mister Rogers' Neighborhood, responsible for overseeing efforts to extend their brand into new media.

Lani Droz, resident of New York City, is the senior mentor to her younger siblings, early on responsible for back seat peace keeping, food distribution and story telling. A graduate of Barnard College, she currently holds two masters degrees and is pursuing a Ph.D at Yeshiva University and is also founder and executive director of ATARA, an annual conference of women performance artists. Lani married Michael in 2013, and made us grandparents in 2014 with the birth of Shoshana, and they now live in Montreal.

David Droz, resident beat boxer, science maven and ace Connect Four player has brought a honed sense of humor and percussive beat to in-car a cappella singing. A graduate of Drexel University and an aeronautical engineer, David recently served as an engineer for an Israeli start-up designing systems for an innovative Vertical Takeoff and Landing Vehicle (VTOL) and recently returned to the United States to pursue an engineering career in New York. David married Allie in 2013 and they now live in New York.

Ben Droz, photographer, artist, skateboarder and origami folder, has helped all of his family members lead healthier and more productive lives and preserve the environment through the consumption of hemp seeds. Ben is a graduate of Goucher College, and currently resides in Washington, D.C. where by day, he is a lobbyist with Vote Hemp, advocating for the legalization of Industrial Hemp, and by night, a professional photographer documenting the night life of Gen Y in the clubs of our Capital.

Becca Droz, expert tie-dyer, beat boxer and skateboarder (following in her brothers' footsteps), budding harmonica player and outdoor adventurer has provided comic relief and an example of independent thinking to an otherwise staid family profile. She is a recent graduate of Warren Wilson College and is pursuing a career in outdoor leadership.

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