We were bored, as I remember it. It was Christmas 1972 and we had traveled to Bloomington, Minnesota to spend the holiday with my mother’s sister, Auntie Gladys, and her husband, Philip. It was the first time my parents or I had ever flown, so the first part of the trip was exciting. But as the days wore on, we found ourselves getting a bit restless. After all, Auntie Gladys never had children and we had already been to downtown Minneapolis where we threw our berets in the air just like Mary Tyler Moore. And, much to our amazement, we had helped her shop for and purchase a fur coat at Dayton’s.
I have no idea why Auntie referred to Santa Clause as “Uncle Ho Ho.” But we were all anxious for his visit. The grown-ups were mostly sitting around the kitchen table drinking coffee and reminiscing about the good old days they all spent together in South Dakota. Which left 16-year-old me and my sister, a then-24-year-old unmarried school teacher, with not much to do.