Sunday, December 14, 2008

Leif's Third Christmas 1977 - Furth, Germany - Almost 3 years old

After our year in Charlottesville, Virginia, we were stationed in Fuerth, Germany, right next to Nurnberg, and Peter W. was the Officer in Charge of the U.S. Army's Nurnberg Law Center. We lived in an army housing area that no longer exists, in a first floor apartment. The building had three floors and there were six apartments in our stairwell. There was a very large area behind the building, surrounded by other apartment buildings like ours, that was the kids' playground.

Leif's best friend was a girl named Katie who lived in the next building. She had one blind eye because her brother had accidentally shot one of her eyes with a BB from an air gun.

Leif was two-and-a-half the summer we moved to Furth, and we lived there just one year. He attended the Happy Time Montessori Preschool.

That year, one of the organizations offered a service on St. Nikolaus Day, December 6th, where St. Nikolaus would come to one's home and visit the kids. I believe they requested a donation for a service organization. We decided that would be fun for the boys.

The evening of December 6th, the doorbell rang and there was St. Nikolaus, dressed like the German Nikolaus, not like the bearded American Santa, but similar enough that any kid should have known who it was. However, as I said in my earlier post, a lot of young children are scared of Santa, and Leif turned out to be one of them. He took one look at St. Nick and ran screaming to a big upholstered chair in the living room and tried to hide.

St. Nick tried to talk with him but Leif wasn't responding well. We tried talking to Leif and encouraging him to be friendly. Nothing doing. He was crying. Peter A. showing brotherly concern and trying to let Leif see that St. Nick wasn't hurting him any, but that didn't help either.

St. Nick didn't give up. He finally got down on the floor, so he was at Leif's height in the chair, and talked to him. Eventually, he got Leif to turn around and give him a hug. That's what you see in the photo above.

St. Nick was played by an army sergeant, and I no longer remember his name, but I do know that he had kids of his own and he was really good with Leif. Leif never told us why he was so frightened of him.

The other photo is of Leif playing with some of his Christmas toys on Christmas Eve, on the rug in the living room of of quarters there. So many of our Christmases were just the four of us, like this one, but we had a good time and a lot of love.

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