Tom & Ray playing with their new Christmas toy. Engine No.17. Two fire trucks and fire fighters, ladders, hats, and hatchets. Most likely purchased from Sears as Aunt Rose worked there and could get my parents a discount. This was probably Christmas 1960 or maybe 1959. Before my father redid the fireplace with built-in shelves and walnut paneling. We moved into this house in the summer of 1957 from North East DC. A brand new housing development in McLean, Va. Built by a trumpet player my father knew. Well built affordable brick houses. There was a cornfield across the street with a creek running through it. We could see cows. Walking to school we passed horses and an old farm house. My father often commented what a delight it was to not have to search for a parking space every night driving around and around the block after coming home late after a job. Just park right in your own driveway. He had it made.
The chair in the photo is now in the basement of the house where my mother still lives, but it is in need of reupholstering. The stuffing is coming out, springs popping out the bottom, and the color fading. My father about 20 years ago offered to get it upholstered and give it to me, but I didn’t have the room. It was one of those purchases that newly weds buy. More expensive then they could afford, but they both loved it. There are carved tassels framing the wings and a maroon mohair curved back. It seemed very exotic. It is the one thing my sister has asked to have when my mother passes. She will give it a good home. We all remember that chair fondly.
The house looks good from the outside. It is now almost 59 years old. Inside it needs paint and a few upgrades, but the two tiled bathrooms are in incredible shape and under the wall to wall carpet is an oak floor that has not been walked on in many years. To save my dad money the builder put in less expensive moulding, a short overhang, and hollow doors. The short overhang always bothered my father. He said Jack should have told me and he would have gladly paid the difference. The doors still look good as my father refinished them while in his mid-70s. The last big house project he did himself.
The neighborhood has changed. The huge tulip poplar in the neighbor’s backyard is no longer the tallest tree in the neighborhood. It could be close to 100 years old by my guess. Large maples and pines have grown up from saplings and been cut down and carted away, just like with many of the houses now. The land is worth more than the houses that sit on them. They are torn down and carted away replaced by huge houses. Some more traditional and not too bad while some look like Roman palaces, all giving the neighborhood a kind of schizophrenic look. Hard to tell what year it is and what part of the country you are in.
I don’t quite know why I have traveled here, or actually back to the Christmas with the fire trucks. I remember the photo being taken. I remember the truck with only three wheels. The fourth wheel would not stay on the truck. I remember the chair and the buttoned up pajamas. It was so long ago, but feels like Christmas. The Christmas of children who are safe and with an entire life ahead of them. They had a good Christmas that year and I am looking forward to a good Christmas this year too.
Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays to everyone.
© 2015 Kozmicdogz