There are many stories in this picture. Christmas 1966. Larkspur, CA. My Dad Russell, my new daughter Nicole, my cousin Heide and our little AKC Chihuahua Jose.
My Dad was a magnet for children. I never saw him do anything special, but they just zeroed in on him. We lost my mother to cancer 8 weeks earlier so we are at Uncle Carl and Aunt Dottie's house for Christmas. My son Keith was the same child magnet. At Aunt Hazel's family gathering after her funeral we noticed that Keith (21 then) and everyone under 10 had disappeared. They were all in a bedroom on the floor around Keith who was telling them a story.
I love the way Russell is so comfortable and holding Nicole so securely even though she is 8 weeks old in this picture.
Talking to Heide on 12/25/2011, I commented that I had never seen my father in anything except trousers and a nice shirt. He never owned a pair of jeans even though he was a building contractor. (Okay, chinos for days of pouring concrete!) The subject came up when I noticed that all 17 of us at Christmas dinner were dressed up.
Jose is a whole story in himself. Russell brought him home one day just as I started college. He had just finished a job for a friend who raised AKC Chihuahuas. He was a gift and fit in my father's pocket. And he ended up going everywhere with us. I even took him to college classes with me one day in my pocket. He slept with his head on the other pillow in my double bed and tugged the blanket up so it fit around his neck just like I did. Then he smiled and went to sleep. We had ice cream almost every night and when you said the word, he went running to stand in front of the icebox smiling. He got a little also.
I have been looking at a lot of old Christmas photos this season and this one was so nostalgic.
Russell and Mary were pretty wise parents. I remember one Christmas they gave me an unusual problem. They gave me a gift when I was 8 or 9 that was not on my Santa list. They gave me a doll. It was not any doll. It was one of those fancy Betsy Wetsy dolls with diapers, bottles, clothes and a crib. I had never asked for a doll. I did not want a doll. I did not like dolls. They are not real. I prefered to take care of my Cousin Bruce. How do I not hurt their feelings? I ended up pretending to play with it for about a month whenever anyone was looking. Then I found a nice place for it to sleep forever on a shelf. Problem solved. My folks were pretty smart and I thankfully never got another doll. Still cannot figure out what to do with them.
I took a test as an adult to see if I was left or right brained. I am neither. I am right in the middle. Wonder if that has anything to do with it.