Wednesday, December 10, 2008

'Twas the (staged) night before Christmas...

The Temple Telegraph sent a photographer out to our house one evening shortly before Christmas to take this picture, which appeared in the paper Christmas Eve of 1959. At least that's the date that I've got written on the back of my copy, but I question that- I think it might have been 1960. Since Bob is in Temple, doing research in the paper archives, I've asked him to look it up. Since inquiring minds want to know. (Update: my research assistant reports that it was 1960, so my instincts were correct. In '59, I still had a ponytail.)

I'm not sure how we wound up with this gig- who mentioned that a resident at Scott and White had five close together in age kids that would look good in a Christmas Eve shot- but here we are, in our co-ordinated nightwear, looking cute as puddin' pie.

Mom had knocked herself out buying matching red and white striped pajamas for the boys (luckily, the flannel nightgowns from our Grandma Bryce had already arrived for Nance and me), getting their hair cut, curling my sister's and my hair, cleaning house and making sure everyone was dressed in time. She hadn't intended to be in the picture herself, which explains her disheveled appearance and grim expression. Nothing like appearing in the pages of your small town newspaper in an old skirt, rumpled blouse, and no makeup to put a smile on your face.
The universal reaction of all my kids, to this picture, is "Wow, Nino looks pissed!"

Very unfair, too, as she was a beautiful woman. She's all of about 27 or 28 in this shot.

Nevertheless, I love the details in this picture, which I can remember as a kid. The inglenook fireplace with the pine settles, the Nile green curtains, the knotty-pine paneling, the brightly colored papier-mache nativity scene from Japan, the armchair in which I read a lot of books, Daddy's cool rolled-up jeans and green and blue tartan bathrobe. We had flannel scraps from those pajamas in the rag bag through the mid-60's. Somewhere out of camera range is a Christmas tree with those burn-your-house-down multi-colored fat bulbs, foil icecicles, and a china-head angel with a feather dress on top. I don't remember what random Little Golden Book Daddy is 'reading' to us, but I know it's not 'The Night Before Christmas'. The third stocking from the left, with the donkey and the little church and a name spelled out in seed beads? That's mine. I still have it.

Good times.


QP said...

That photograph just screams 'Fifties". In addition to what you've already pointed out ->Dad had eyeglasses like that and brothers, same hair cuts. I did not have those short, short bangs but Sis did. Your Mom was beautiful.

Enchanted childhoods we did have and so did ours and theirs too.

Sal said...

How could I forget the Mamie Eisenhower bangs?

My research assistant reports that it was 1960, btw. That makes more sense- we all looked too old for it to be '59.
On April 1st, we would move to Austin, where they would live ever after...

WordGirl said...

27 or 28?!?!?! Wow. Props to your Mom. When did she and your Dad get married? When she was 18? Somebody's gotta' teach a course in doing what your Mom (and you) has/have done. Pioneers, both of you.

That said: I love this photo! OH, THE MEMORIES! I'll bet you can just smell the cold fireplace brick and the laundry soap on your pj's. [sigh]

Sal said...

Hi, WG!
The Christmas card- such smushability!
We were a blended family, rare for the 'fifties. When they married, they each had two children: Mother had the boys and Daddy had my sister and me. She was divorced and he was a widower. They had my youngest brother nine months after they married. So, at the ripe old age of 25, she had five children under the age of six. (She was barely twenty when Jim was born.)
Since he was three months older than I was, and Nance was four months older than Larry, they had two virtual sets of twins, and a singleton.
Of course, as kids, we thought we were the norm and everyone else was odd. It wasn't until I had kids of my own that I realized what a daunting job that was and what an accomplishment.

USS Ben USN (Ret) said...

Thanks for sharing, Sal!
That's a great photo, and such a beautiful family! :^)