A Year In Mill Valley

Two Christmases, 45 Years Apart

Merry Christmas!

The boys got up early and brought their stockings into our bed to open. Ahhh, the delights of childhood…the wonder on their faces…the light and sparkle in their eyes…long may it last.

The big hit this year was Lego. Rachel found someone on Craigslist who was selling “a large amount of Lego”, but because there were no pictures it wasn’t clear how much there was, or what kind. Rachel had been emailing with him for the past three months or so as we kept trying to find an excuse to go up to Santa Rosa. Finally we went to visit Chris and John in Healdsburg, and stopped in Santa Rosa on the way.

“A large amount” was an understatement. We got there and were met by a very nice father whose son had gotten to the age where he wasn’t using it anymore, and Dad was ready to have it out of the house. There were four very large clear plastic boxes, full of many other smaller clear plastic boxes, all brimming with Lego. Rachel took one look at it and was about to ask if she could go through it and pick out stuff (she’s on a don’t-bring-anything-extra-into-the-house-because-there’s-no-room kick), but I could see that Dad just wanted it all gone. I said “How much?”. $40. “Sold. We’ll take it all. Rachel, can help me carry it out to the car? (and sotto voce) We’ll go through it later.” We brought it home, and on Christmas Eve filled up small two boxes with men, helmets, bits of boats and space ships…a multitude of pieces…wrapped it, and placed it under the tree. The boys are loving it.

We had my brother and sister’s families up for dinner, plus Michael and Teresa (bring some outsiders along…always a great way to keep the family in line don’t you think?). As you can see in the picture below the table for 16 just fit into the living room…diagonally. Not quite as much room in the house as when we had 30 for dinner in Sausalito 6 years ago, but lovely and cozy and great fun nonetheless.

Dinner started with crab. Then soup. Then ham, mashed potatoes and green beans. Then Chris’ famous ice cream with Mom’s chocolate sauce, and Jeannie’s apple and pecan pies. Yum.

Forty-five years ago we had Christmas at my grandmother’s house in Brookline, MA. Here I am (bottom left corner) with my sister Jean, Mom (in blue), and cousins Andy, Pat and Peter Mahoney. I found this picture when we were at the Cape this summer. Can’t wait to go digging for more next summer.

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