Sunday, December 14, 2008
Leif's Fourth Christmas 1978 - Sachsen bei Ansbach, Germany - Age almost 4
During the summer of 1978 we moved from Fuerth, Germany to a village about 45 minutes drive away, Sachsen bei Ansbach. Ansbach was the nearest city. Peter W. found a house that was being completed to rent by a man who lived in the village, named Hans Volland. He went by the nickname Hanni.
This was a great house, with a lot of space and special features, on a hill where an orchard had once been. We had a nice yard, 2 apple and 8 plum trees, and a woods nearby. That's where Leif started going to the German Kindergarten and Peter A. started at the local school.
By the time Christmas came, both boys were completely fluent in German and sounded just like any other kid in the village.
There was a family Christmas party at the JAG Office in Ansbach, where Peter worked. He was asked to play Santa Claus, and he did, giving out gifts to all the kids. We were a little dubious about whether our boys would realize who Santa really was. We needn't have worried. I guess they were still believers and couldn't imagine that it was their dad in that suit.
The photo of Leif on "Santa's" lap is actually him on Peter W.'s lap. Leif wasn't yet quite four years old, so it's less startling that he didn't know it was his father, but Peter A. was 10, and he didn't get it either. We had a hard time keeping a straight face. From Leif's body language, it appears that he still wasn't really comfortable getting close to a guy that looked like Santa Claus!
The two photos of Leif in the sweater were taken in our living room at the house in Sachsen on Christmas Eve, and the one of my three guys was taken on Christmas morning. They are wearing caftans I made for them.
Christmas seemed simpler then and gifts were less expensive, at least the ones we gave. And, I made many of the gifts I gave in those days.