Many of us will have a photo, like this one, which I found whilst rummaging in my store cupboard this morning.
I think I am about 4 years old in this photo which would date this Santa meeting to Christmas 1960. However this date of 1960 doesn’t gel with the information I have on the photographer, J Ambrose, who was apparently at 137 Armagh Street only in 1962 and 1964. So, perhaps, I am older in the photo than I imagine I was.
I don’t remember meeting Santa, or having my photo taken with him, but I do remember that short-sleeved cardigan I am wearing. I loved it, with its lacy pattern, soft beige wool and shiny, faceted, glass-like buttons. My mother’s sister made it for me, and my only sadness over it was that it was hardly ever cold enough to wear it in my childhood homeland, Fiji.
The Santa photo, though, was not taken in Fiji. It was, I expect, taken during one of our ‘home-leave’ visits to Christchurch. And, I am thinking that Santa and I probably greeted each other at Santa’s corner in Hay’s Department Store “Hay’s – the friendly store where everything is different!” http://lostchristchurch.org.nz/hays-building-oxford-terrace-c-1959 Hay’s no longer exists. It became Farmers in 1987. And the buildings which Hay’s, followed by Farmers, used to occupy no longer exist either, because they had to be demolished after the earthquakes (2010/2011).
Now, moving on from the Southern Hemisphere to the Northern one… as Santa must do, for, after all, we are amongst the first in the world to see Christmas Day. [ Which begs the question, “Why doesn’t Santa live at the South Pole?” It would be more convenient and fuel-efficient, considering the direction he has to travel.]
I digress….here are some photos of my first ever Northern Hemisphere winter. This is the house in Valhalla, Westchester County, New York, where I spent Christmas in 1977. We didn’t, to my great disappointment, have a White Christmas, but, in early 1978, when this photo was taken, Mother Nature made up for the lack of snow on Christmas Day.
In February of that year, I went from scarcely knowing what snow looked like to experiencing the Blizzard of 1978. I don’t believe I will ever forget the extraordinary day we walked in the middle of Second Avenue, Manhattan. It was completely, and eerily, devoid of traffic. I didn’t own a pair of boots back then but I did have wooden clogs, with rubber heel and toe plates, and I found they were excellent for negotiating the slippery pavements. ( Yay for Clogs! Does Santa have clogs? He should 🙂 Sinterklaas has a pair, I am sure.)
And here is the final photo from the cupboard rummage; me, in the aftermath of the Blizzard, in my friend’s garden at Valhalla. I cut a Santa like figure, don’t you think?