13 December 2006

A Crack Opens

Had a whirlwind trip to NYC this last weekend to take part in a ceremony of installation. But I also had just enough time to walk the holiday sights of Gotham, including for the first time sitting through Evensong at St. Thomas Episcopal Church, a church so high that even the pope would get a nosebleed. And if it was not perfect, no mortal ear or eye could tell...

... Christmas morning 1959, maybe 1960. All my brother and I wanted this Christmas was a ge-yu-ine Steve Canyon jet pilot's helmet. For those too young or old, Steve Canyon was a character in the funny papers who was a fighter pilot in the US Air Force. He was square jawed and blond and every bit the poster boy for Aryan excellence. But we did not see that irony then. All we knew was the jet planes were cool and they were selling helmets just like his with the flip down sunvisor and other cool things.

Sure enough, there were two roundish packages under the tree. We scrambled fast to prove our hopes, and there they were.

But wait, there's a problem. The visor, the coolest part, has a crack in it. I see a note in the box. "Dear Weldon," (I was known by my first name then) "so many little boys wanted this toy that there were only just enough. One of them had a crack in the sun visor and because you were the oldest, I knew you would understand."

I did understand, but that did not make it feel better. And upon re-reading the note I saw that the writing was familiar, rather feminine, if you will forgive me for saying.

Some Christmas gifts give more than they realize. And not always what we want...

1 comment:

JackRyan1 said...

Your story sounds so familiar. I also wanted the Steve Canyon Helmet, but even more, I wanted the Jet Fighter Cockpit.
I got them both for Christmas, in 1959 (?). I was 8.
The sad note here, like millions of other kids, in some fit of house cleaning, my mother tossed the toy, along with others [like my autographed Sandy Koufax Dodger baseball valued at over $100k]. Regards fjc.