I’ve always loved Christmas. I give credit to my mother for that. Even though she left us when I was young, she was around long enough to make my first five or six Christmases exciting and joyful.
Mother decorated in ways that seemed extravagant at the time. She played loud Christmas music on our big old stereo system and we would dance around the house and be silly. I learned to associate Christmas with joy and fun — and she always made sure I had fun toys waiting on Christmas morning.
When I was about 3 and a half years old — maybe the Christmas in this photo or maybe the one before it — I woke up while my parents were setting up all of our toys for the next morning. (I had one sister at the time and Mother was pregnant with the other sister.)
As they were concentrating on putting toys together and setting everything up — trying to be quiet about it — I stumbled out of my bed and came into the living room to see what was going on. As the story was told in future years, I stood there quietly watching from the shadows of the room before one of them finally noticed me.