I’m trying to decide which Christmas would be my favorite. It isn’t easy when one has 75 to choose from. However, the one that stands out today is 1961.
Dan had graduated college in June 1960 and hired on with Philco Corp as a techrep assigned to oversee the installation of weather equipment on airbases located between the Canadian border and the Gulf, bounded on the east and west by the Mississippi and the Rockies. We were in a location six weeks to three months… We had bought a mobile home, but Dan decided he didn’t want to pull it behind our car and having someone else move it from Altus, Oklahoma to San Antonio, Texas didn’t fit our budget.
So, in December of ’61 we were living in a motel in San Antonio and the small tree in the corner looked pretty bleak. It was my first Christmas away from my parents and I was homesick, feeling even worse that we didn’t have anyone to share our baby’s first Christmas.
When Dan’s cousin invited us to have Christmas with them, we loaded our car with baby stuff and Christmas presents and headed for Kingsville, Texas.
Like most first-time parents, we were expecting baby giggles and coos as his little hands grabbed each new toy. But, if you have first Christmas memories, you know how that turns out. Still this Christmas was special in an unexpected way.
Timmy was three weeks past 6 months and we were quite proud that he had learned to stand alone. Of course, we had to show off his new skill soon after we arrived in Kingsville. I held Timmy’s hands while we worked on balance. When I turned loose, he stood alone and teetered a bit. Then he flashed a smile and took three steps!
After that, we helped him open gifts thinking each one might cause his eyes to light up or generate a giggle. Nothing much grabbed his attention until the gifts were all opened, then he sat on a box, clutching the wrapping paper, and tasting the ribbon. We got the first steps… what more should be expected?
(The date on the photos is January ’62, but the first photo was taken Christmas Eve ’61, the second a few days later. Shooting photos back then included loading film, inserting flashbulbs, sending the film away for developing, and a long wait.)