Monday, November 21, 2011

Ghost of Christmas Past

My lovely relative Anna posted some childhood photos today, which inspired me to give you...gems from Kathy's Childhood Christmases!

Christmas 1955, at my Jenkins grandparents' home in Sacramento.

The gal on the left is my mother (age 20), and on the far right is her sister-in-law, my Aunt Pat. My paternal grandmother, Grandma Jenkins, is in the middle.

What a cheery trio!

The baby on the left is me (age 18 months), and the toddler on the right is my cousin Marilyn, age 2.

Whew! That dizzy-making braided rug was all the rage in the early 50s.

Ride 'em, cowgirl! Here's me on Christmas morning in 1957, age 3 1/2.

Maybe it's a stretch, but don't you think I look just a little bit like my granddaughter, Olivia?

Check out those stylin' boots!

And the classy fit on the droopy-drawer jammies!

My mom is in the background, ignoring her darling daughter. Looks like she's ready to rip into another gift.

Check out the old-style carpet with the floral pattern. My family lived in an older home at the time...that carpet was pretty "old fashioned" for 1957. Wish I could have it in my house now!

I know many of you appreciate fine family photos for your Christmas cards. Here's a photo my parents took of my brother and me in 1957. (Still age 3 1/2 - same year as the cowgirl photo above.)

This is a darling photo, but it's made me mad for years. Who looks taller? My angelic little 2-year-old brother, Maury, of course. He's really shorter than me, but I'm cuddling the bear on my lap (note the bear's silk skirt). I'm not sure why I have the bear and Maury has the girl doll.

Check out Maury's shoelace shoes! No, velcro had not been invented yet. Can you imagine how many hours my mother spent tying shoes?'s a classic! My gentle maternal grandmother, Nana Holman, made matching Christmas pajamas for the cousins!  

The photo was taken Christmas 1958, when I was four years old, at my cousins' house in Alameda.

L to R: My cousins Mike (age 3), Karen (age 4), me (age 4), and my brother Maury (age 3).

No, Karen and I are not little devils. Those were kangaroo pajamas, thank you very much. They had a pouch in the front with a baby stuffed kangaroo inside. Mike and Maury had bunny rabbit jammies with a stuffed carrot attached. You can see the carrot on Mike's left chest. I don't remember how the carrots attached.

More about the bunny and kangaroo hats in a minute.

Actually, both of these pajama designs make me think of Max in Where the Wild Things Are.

Speaking of Christmas cards, here is a vintage 1959 DIY photo Christmas card. You bought these cards, and they had slots inside for sticking the photo into the card. This was the card my parents sent out the year I was five years old.

Here's the inside of the card. I think my parents chose this one because the cover illustration (kind of) matched the photo they were using. Get it?

My dad loved Jeeps. As in, old school Jeeps, not the SUV-Jeeps you see nowadays. No, we were hard core. We didn't bother with roofs, doors, seat belts, or even seats in the back.

Have adventure, will travel! Most of the time, the Jeeps kind of drove my mother a little crazy. But she's putting on a good smile for the Christmas card this year. She really is a good sport about a lot of things. Because she was (and is) nutso in love with my dad. He can aggravate her and charm her all in the same breath. And he wouldn't last more than about eight minutes without her. The greatest love story I know!

Here's another angle on the Jeep Christmas photo, where you can see our faces a little better. Don't you wish you could wear a hat like my mom and me? They had these scarf-tie things attached, to cover your ears and tie the hat on. Pretty neat. And pretty essential in an open Jeep.
And finally, these last three photos have the pajama-hat followup I promised you earlier. Remember the kangaroo pajamas? Well, this photo was taken in 1963--I am now nine years old--and I am still wearing the kangaroo pajama hat from 1958, when I was 4.

Mind you, I am wearing it perfectly nonchalantly, with my 9-year-old friends, as if sitting around and practicing the French horn in a kangaroo hat is a completely normal thing for a 9-year-old to do. I guess my head didn't grow much.
You'll want to note my mom and the family dog in the background of that first photo. She's bending over to do something, and the dog is taking advantage of her back being turned to check out what's on the table...

Don't you love the perky kangaroo ears? Don't you love these long braids? These were my two best friends in 4th grade. They were probably my only friends in 4th grade. I was kind of a loner. Kim Henzgen and Cindy Robertson. The 3 of us were practicing a trio to play at a school band concert.

And speaking of pajama hats, here's my brother...and the family dog again, hahaha! ...and he's still wearing his bunny hat, too. Man, we really loved those pajama hats. Take note, moms and grandmas, and make sure every child on your list has a pajama hat this year! Anyway, this is photo was taken in the same era, so he would have been about 8 years old.

And now, dear blog friends, it is getting late, so I leave you with this inspired image of my sweet little brother...who will always be my little brother, no matter how many birthdays he has! ...and wish you all sweet dreams, too.


Anna said...

Ha! These were fun! It was fun seeing resemblances to Katie in the mini-you. Also, I'm getting me one of those kangaroo hats.

Dorothy said...

Actually, I saw the image of ALL your daughters in those pictures! Too bad we didn't live close to each other all those years ago. Your family could have gone "jeeping" with my family. My mom hated it, too, but she was very into pleasing my Dad at the time. We kids were just in it for the excitement.

Mike Koponick said...

I was thinking the picture of you at 18 months looks like Rebbecca... The one with you and you brother looks like Kathleen/Sarah

Katie Lewis said...

Haha! Really cute, funny pictures mom. Love those pajama hat pictures.

Annemarie said...

Tee-hee. This whole post made me giggle and giggle! I love the kangaroo hat, by the way, and I think it's a perfectly natural thing to wear it while playing french horn.

Just my two cents.