The Tables Have Turned

This (below) is my first Christmas.  Actually, it’s technically my second.  Because I was born three days before Christmas, my first Christmas was spent coming home from the hospital.  The hospital wrapped me in a giant red and white Christmas stocking that day.

Sadly, no one cared to take a photo of my homecoming or my stocking bunting.  I used to love to look at that stocking when I was a kid.  It was at the foot of Grandma’s bed in her cedar chest.  I always wished I could hang that by the chimney and that Santa would fill it with wonderful surprises.  And I was always disappointed when Grandma wouldn’t let me, and I had to hang a normal sized stocking instead.

Each year, I eagerly looked forward to sitting on Santa’s lap and telling him what I wanted.  I vividly remember just how exciting it was when Grandma and I went to the department store and we saw the red and white arrows leading to Santa’s chair.  (I always thought it looked more like a throne.)

Back then, they didn’t offer photos with Santa, so this is the only picture I have with me and the big guy.  (Considering my Grandma’s mentality of “don’t waste the film,” I’m actually surprised I even have this one.  Isn’t it funny that after her raising me with that mindset, I grew up to be a professional photographer?)

Now that Grandma’s ninety-five years old and lives in a nursing home, she can’t take me to sit on Santa’s lap anymore.  And now, instead of me sitting on Santa’s lap, I take photos of other children with the big guy.  Only I don’t just sit the child on his lap.  I like to do artistic photos with Santa, including having him read a story to the children and have cookies and milk with them.

My son, when he’s available, is actually who plays Santa for my studio now.  And on Christmas Day, when my kids and I go visit Grandma at the nursing home, Jeremy (begrudgingly) dresses as Santa to see his great-grandma.  And I just smile because I went from getting eagerly excited to go visit Santa to being happy that I gave birth to him.  And instead of Grandma taking me to see the big guy, I now take the big guy to her.

The tables certainly have turned!

My daughter, Stefani, my son, Jeremy (as Santa), and my Grandma Toby.

Talk to me:  Did you used to look forward to sitting on Santa’s lap?  Would you have allowed your child to hang the giant stocking on the fireplace?  Would you have taken a photo of your new baby in the giant stocking?

Sleuths, I Need Your Help!

When my kids were small, I was a paralegal, and I only did freelance photography on the side.  I shot the occasional wedding and portraits, and a bunch of concerts.  I didn’t own a studio yet, and as such, I didn’t have access to my very own Santa.  So I had to rely on the Polaroids they sold at the mall.

However, one year, a friend told me about a new mall where you were allowed to bring your own camera and shoot from the side as long as you purchased the overpriced Polaroid.  (Obviously, this was way back in the dark ages before the days of cellphone cameras.)

So the year I moved from Florida to New York, I was quite surprised early one morning when my kids had a friend over and we heard a fire truck in our little neighborhood.  We looked outside, and lo and behold, Santa was stepping off the truck to visit the kids in the neighborhood!  I’d never seen anything like this!

I hurried to get the kids’ jackets over their pajamas, then Jeremy ran upstairs to grab his wish list while I got my camera.  I was only able to get about a half-dozen shots, but the memory was captured, and it was priceless!  The only thing that made me a little sad was that Santa kept Jeremy’s letter.

kingston christmas (01)

kingston christmas (02)

Jeremy, Stefani, their friend, Santa

kingston christmas (04)

At any rate, I do have two different letters my son wrote to Santa on different years when he was six and seven.  (My daughter was never so inclined to write the Big Guy for what she wanted.)  The unfortunate part, though, is that I didn’t write down the translation at the time when I knew what they said, and now neither he nor I have a clue what his little heart desired on some of the items listed.  (The even funnier part is that I can decipher much more on either list than Jeremy can now.)

(The reason this means so much to me is that because of my son’s Autism, this is literally probably the most he ever wrote at one time, and honestly it’s probably more than he wrote all year long for most of his childhood.  Besides being Autistic, he’s a lefty, and handwriting has never been easy for him, even now.)

So I’m appealing to all you detectives, sleuths, and problem solvers to help me on my mission to determine what is on these lists.  Below the photos of each list, I’ve typed what it says as well as the translation for everything I can decipher.  The parts I cannot decipher are in red.  If you think you can help, I would greatly appreciate your guess.  Thank you.

The envelope says “North Pole Santa Claus.”


I wont for Crismis (I Want for Christmas)

  1. soos thet tel you haw (Shoes That Tell You How) {Contd. on #2}
  2. fast you run and haw you jup (Fast You Run and How You Jump)
  3. *BLANK*
  4. A new bic with handbracs (A New Bike with Handbrakes)
  5. *BLANK*
  6. Sile Pute (Silly Putty)
  7. A motersicul Nintendo 64 (A Motorcycle Nintendo 64)
  8. a aer pup (An Air Pump)
  9. Lens with a hui on the back (All I know is it is NOT a lens of any kind.)
  10. Laptop (A Laptop)
  11. Monster truk lunchbox (A Monster Truck Lunchbox)
  12. New morcers (No clue.)
  13. New belt (New Belt)
  14. Hot wels (Hot Wheels)

Fofm Jeremy (From Jeremy)

{{Page 1}}

I want for Christmas
to walk eegkece (No clue)
a go cart (A Go-Kart)
a dert bic (A Dirt Bike)
a micro scooter with red wels (A Micro Scooter With Red Wheels)
a pokemon gameboy coler (A Pokemon Gameboy Color)
a kittens (A Kitten)
bowpins (Blo-Pens)
red pochl (No clue)
a toy drep thet you can driv (a toy ___ that you can drive)
a rel fon (A Real Phone)
aaon carder CD (An Aaron Carter CD)
a aaon carder vidio (An Aaron Carter Video)
a playhouse (A Playhouse)
a wakumoke (A Whack-A-Mole Game)
slle sixpines (Silly Six Pins)
pats with a smoc (Paints with a Smock)
a CD player (A CD player)
a hoce stics with a hoce gol (A Hockey Stick with a Hockey Goal)
a playstashin with a rugrats gam (A Playstation with a Rugrats Game)
a Holwen fireman costoom (A Halloween Fireman Costume)
buloonmajic (Balloon Magic)
majicstri (Magic String)
insectorix (No clue)
a moc inchrel car (a remote control car)
ater helcopter piecman (The only word I can decipher is helicopter)
cotin cand ma (Cotton Candy Machine)
plado mickdonlelans (Play-Doh McDonalds)
{{Page 2}}

puppyraser (Puppy Racer)
a resuling math (A wrestling match)
brit lit (Light Brite)
legodinoilid (Lego Dino Island)

Time to talk:  Did you used to write Santa letters to let him know what you wanted?  If so, did you mail them or deliver them in person?  Did you ever live where Santa visited your neighborhood?  Do you have any clue what my son wanted above?