Christmas 1960

For some reason Mom didn't take any home/tree/decorations photos this Christmas, but she did take some of our visit to the Lockheed Employee Recreational Club (LERC) Christmas toy giveaway event that year. What a great, fun organization the LERC was! Every year they'd have a big gem show Dad and I would go to; I was fascinated by the geodes and semi-precious stones... But that was years in the future.

Here I am, age 4 1/2, wearing a sturdy pair of red-trimmed little-boy overalls and an excited look on my face. Why? Because just to the right, up on the stand where you can see the bricks, is Santa Claus, dispenser of toys. Some fellow in jaunty argyle socks is standing on a chair, I'm guessing to get a photo of his kid sitting on Santa's lap. The tree is big, well-tinseled and roped off, and we are in Burbank. (Five years later we'd move there so Dad could be closer to work.)

And what did Santa give me? As near as I can make out, a "P.... Set." Dang. I should have been more mindful and did a happy pose for posterity, victoriously clutching my P.... Set, showing it off.

A monkey is entertaining the crowd. Two little children cower behind their mother's skirt. An older kid is holding two presents... hey! That's not fair! I can't make out what either of them are.

Oh, boy. A clown. Want to touch my accordion, little boy? My tentative look suggests that I did only under photographic urging from Mom. Can we go home now?

I have NEVER liked clowns. To me they're not funny; they're an awkward embarrassment. Sinister, even. Lon Chaney got it right when he said, "There`s nothing funny about a clown in the moonlight." Or at Christmas outside of the LERC building, for that matter.

Funny thing about those coveralls. I'd wear a similar pair four years later.

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