Friday, December 19, 2008

Leif's 12th Christmas 1986 - Lawton, Michigan - Almost 12 years old

In the summer of 1986 we moved from Honolulu, Hawaii to Fort Sheridan, Illinois, a small army base on the north side of Chicago sandwiched in between the suburbs of Highland Park, Highwood and Lake Forest. Peter W. was actually assigned as the Staff Judge Advocate for the U.S. Military Entrance Processing Command (MEPCOM) at Great Lakes, a few miles farther north. We could have gotten quarters there, or lived in any of a large number of the northern suburbs, but after a thorough investigation of the schools, it was clear that the best place for our sons to go to school was in Highland Park, and accepting quarters at Fort Sheridan would put them into that school system. For Peter Anthony, it was a critical senior year, but for Leif, we knew it would be at least three years, and it turned out to be four.

Our sons had grown up so far away from my family for most of their lives that they really only knew my mother, who came to visit at least once a year wherever we lived. Moving to the Chicago area brought us closer to them, because my mother and my brother Donovan were a day's drive away in Kansas; my sister Lannay was a day's drive away in Maryland, and my sister Sherie was just a couple of hours drive away in Michigan. We were able to see them a lot more again and Leif took to his cousins very quickly.

1986 was the first Christmas on the US mainland since 1976, ten years! We spent it at my sister Sherie's home in Lawton, Michigan, and my sister Lannay and her family came, too. It was great to have a house full of family to celebrate with, and Peter Anthony and Leif got to know four of their first cousins. In the photo above, left to right are Peter Anthony (18), Derek, Leif (almost 12), Shane, Jacquie and Brenda. It was Peter Anthony's 18th birthday, my Christmas boy born on December 25th.

Christmas in the north, cold and snowy, seemed more like what we were culturally used to as Christmas weather, but it was a shock after three years in warm Hawaii!

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