Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Leif - Crawling in Fallen Leaves - October 1975 - Age 9 Months

In Kansas, where Leif was born, it's autumn and the leaves are turning colors and falling. Leif spent about 11 years of his life in Manhattan, Kansas in three different periods.

He was born there on January 28, 1975 and lived there in our old stone house until the summer of 1976, when we moved to Charlottesville, Virginia. This photo was taken during that first year.

We had about 33 trees in our large corner lot, and they produced prodigious amounts of leaves each fall, especially the giant oak tree near the side door that we persisted in calling the "back door" because it was the way out to the back yard, detached garage and parking area.

We were out raking up the carpet of leaves that was nearly three inches thick and Leif was tired of being in a backpack or high chair, so I put him down in the midst of the leaves to see what he would do.

Unfortunately, he couldn't talk yet at the tender age of 10 months, but I would have loved to hear what he thought of it. He crawled through them picking up his hands high as though to get them out of the deep mess.

Fall was a beautiful time in Manhattan. The town has so many trees that on some of the older streets in our part of town, it's like driving under a canopy that completely covers the street, like a tunnel of green, or, in the fall, a tunnel of color.

Of course, once the leaves fall it isn't so attractive any more, but during that balmy period known as Indian Summer, it's a lovely place.

Leif would be back in Manhattan when we moved there from Puerto Rico in the fall of 1992 when Peter W. was forced to retire from the army (he did not want to!) by the Congressional insistence on reducing the force levels after the first Gulf War. He finished high school there, just his senior year, and went to college there at Kansas State University until enlisting in the army in January 1998.

The last time Leif lived in Manhattan was May 2001 until March 2005, after he was medically retired from the army due to his asthma, and returned there to finish his college degree and work for Western Wireless, which was purchased by Alltel.

I have wonderful memories of fall, whether in Manhattan, Kansas; Charlottesville, Virginia; Germany; or Japan.

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