That's me at one year old, gracing my parents' Christmas card for the first time. I don't think they sent out any cards the year I was born, on December 13, less than two weeks before Christmas. Hospitals kept women longer then, and Mom had some kind of complications—no one ever told me what—that kept her in longer than usual. So we were still in the hospital on Christmas Day. They put little bows on the babies in the nursery for Christmas. I was so bald they scotch-taped mine on.
Dad, the avid gardener, brought Mom a live azalea plant while she was in the hospital, and then took it away with him when he went home, so he could plant it in the yard. Some women would have been put out, but by this time Mom had accepted the fact that this was what avid gardeners do.
And by the time my second Christmas rolled around, they had the time to have the above portrait of me taken.
By the next Christmas, my brother, Stuart, had joined me on the card. He looks a little distrustful of the camera if you ask me. I am told that when they brought him home from the hospital, I peered suspiciously at him and inquired, "Wuzzat?" Six or seven months later, by the time this card was taken, I'd probably gotten used to not being an only.
Another year, another Christmas. I'm wondering if this is the year when my cousin Debbie Powell (now Hamilton) and her two brothers, Oppie and Dickie,all of them a few years older than me, brought me a giant teddy bear--as big as I was at the time. The family legend is that I squealed with delight when I opened the present, threw the bear aside, and played excitedly with the box for the rest of their visit. I hope they weren't too crushed. Or if they were, I wish I could go back in time and assure them that it really was a magnificent bear, that it became a valued member of my stuffed animal family, and continued to delight me long after the box had fallen to pieces.
I think this is the next in line. My parents weren't always much for dating things. Some of my cousins on the Kansas side of the family claim that Grandpa Andrews would get up on the roof late at night and shake sleigh bells to convince the grandchildren that they were hearing Santa. Not sure my dad ever tried that--I rather hope he didn't, because if he did, he'd have been risking his neck for something my brother and I apparently slept through.
I'm pretty sure this was taken with my brother and me posing on top of a cannon in front of the governor's palace in Colonial Williamsburg. No idea why they decided to use this photo--maybe it was the only one they managed to take of the two of us not engaged in unarmed combat. And when you come down to it, doesn't a revolutionary era cannon just say "Christmas?" Maybe they chose the spot because it was approximately where Mom was standing when she and some friends went to see Winston Churchill and Dwight D. Eisenhower during Churchill's visit to Williamsburg in 1950. The president and the prime minister toured the town in a horse drawn carriage. Mom often related that when they were stopped in front of the governor's palace, the horses, startled by the crowds, reared up. Churchill didn't bat an eye or lose a single ash from his perennial cigar.
Last of the series. Not necessarily the last card on which Stuart and I posed, but the last one I've found while sorting through several boxes of old family papers. But there are several more boxes--my parents were never adept at letting go of papers--so I live in hope that eventually a few more photo cards will disappear.
Then again, perhaps after this card one or both of us grew self-conscious and refused to pose for the annual holiday card.
What about you--are there charming (or embarrassing) holiday photos in your past?