Although I only spent 5 years in the city of my birth…I remember it well! There was a snow on the ground and more in the air, as mom announced that she had retrieved Laughing Santa…and that I must come to see him!
Before me was the little, stuffed, Chief Elf…with his brightly painted face and the crank on his back. The more that mom turned the crank…the more heartily Old St. Nick laughed. I watched his antics and reveled in his laughter and wondered how he was able to be so human and yet…seemed not to be so?
There were many, uniquely wrapped, gifts under the 8 foot aluminum Christmas Tree. Pointing at the shiny artificial Tannenbaum was a rotating light with a cover of multi-colors that diffused the spectrum of color of the subsequent glow of the beam.
We had returned from our excursion into the city where we saw the new release of Walt Disney’s movie, Lady and the Tramp. And, the information overload for me, at 3 years old, was tremendous…and ‘visions of sugarplums danced in my head!’
Soon dad and me and mom sat under the Tree as a, mysterious visitor, took our photo…’and that is the rest of the story.’
It was after dark and our outside Christmas lights were lit…and we heard a terrible commotion on the roof of our house in Sauk Village. It sounded like someone had been on the roof and fell off. As dad answered the door, I heard him proclaim…’Why come right in!’ There before us…was Santa Claus in all of his red suited, and white bearded, and pipe smoking glory!
Santa laughed, a lesser laugh, than what I had expected…and he wondered if he could use our phone to call Mrs. Claus? He went on to say that he and the Missus had been involved in a spat when he left and he needed to ensure that there was a home for him to return to…when the Christmas Eve work was completed. Dad showed him our one phone in the hall…and he began to dial. We gave him his privacy…he looked like that he needed it. We heard him say, ‘but…but…but,’ on several occasions, and then he joined us in the living room. Santa said that he had patched things up and inquired was there anything that he could do for us…before he resumed his journey. Mom responded that she would like for him to snap a family photo of us under the Christmas Tree. Santa took her camera and took two pictures…in case the first one did not come out right.
Dad poured the, ‘spritely old elf,’ some eggnog and asked if he wanted something stronger in it…and he smiled with the rosiest of cheeks and said, ‘absolutely!’
As Santa left, on our carport were the reindeer and a bright red glow…from Rudolph’s nose. Donner and Vixen called out to Santa and asked, ‘where’s ours?’ referring to the spiked eggnog.
So, that is how the Brooks Family Photo…was taken.