It was taken taken with an old school camera, and the film was likely carried to the local department store to be developed, which probably took at least a week.
I was two, we were living in Traverse City, and the boys were the Brown brothers, from across the street. All of this info comes from my mom, I have no memory of this event. I thought this was from Alabama. In fact I named this jpeg, “Mobile Xmas.jpeg”.
So, the tree. It’s actually a pretty nice looking natural tree. But of course, this was the wilderness of northwest Michigan. Dad probably opened the front door and a tree just jumped into the house to get out of the cold.
If you look at the bottom of the tree on the left, you’ll see a little Santa. I know that Santa. It’s still hung on my parents’ tree every year. It’s an ornament my mother brought from her own family, along with a very large silver ball and a golden bunch of German glass grapes.
You’ll notice that instead of garland, the tree is draped in tinsel. It was also 1967, so that was lead tinsel. They stopped making it in the seventies because of the risk of the lead harming developing brains. But, I don’t think it had any affect on my couch seafood Liberace purple.
Decorating a tree with tinsel under my mother’s direction is a circle of hell even Satan himself would consider cruel and unusual. My impulse was and remains to throw fistfuls at the tree, or better yet use a bazooka. Mom’s rule was to artfully, painfully, place it one strand at a time.
The Brown kids are wearing the standard Beach Boys/Kingston Trio striped button downs. To give you an idea of how popular and unbiquitous these shirts were, this photo was taken in Michigan, in December, where their average high temperature is 32°, and the average snowfall during the month is 20 inches.
I now reluctantly turn my attention to the monkey child in the pink footie pajamas.
I accused my mother of being the mastermind and trimmer of those tragically unfortunate bangs. She insists that the hand that weilded the shears was trained and payed for their service. She should have gotten her money back.
I don’t know who actually gave me that punishment of a haircut, but I do know one thing for sure—Scotch tape was somewhere in the equation.
At first glance I look to be a happy little girl, excited for Santa make his annual visit.
But look closer, Gentle Reader.
That look in my eye is pure super villain yearning for world domination. Examining the original photo, it’s entirely possible my eyes are actually glowing. My mouth is making an expression somewhere between demented lunacy and demonic glee. It’s a look that seems to be saying, “Yeah, I eat kittens, push little old ladies into the paths of buses, and put the milk back with an 1/8-inch left. You got a problem with that?”
I look like I should be hanging out in an elevator in an empty mountain hotel with my equally creepy twin sister. I look like I should be stealing all presents from the children of Whoville. I look like I should be working with an FBI agent while wondering where my next bottle of chiante is coming from.
But it’s ok. I grew up to be perfectly normal.
Thanks for your time.
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