Today in My History
a Small World After All
Books Read in 2019
NU NU LIGHTS
December 13, 2019
A family tradition when I was growing up was taking a night to go and look at Christmas lights. We lived in an area of San Francisco where there were apartment buildings and flats and you never saw any building decorations, so we had to drive out to "the avenues" to see houses decorated.
It must have been difficult for my mother, who desperately wanted her own house. When they built the houses in "the avenues," they could be purchased, in the 1940s, for about $2,000. My grandmother, very tight fisted with money, convinced my father that real estate was a very bad investment and so they stayed in their rented apartment from before I was born in 1942 until after all of our kids were born, in 1973.
(The houses in "the avenues" now sell for around a million dollars or so!)
So it's been fun living in a town where people actually decorate their houses.
I like to drive around at least once during the Christmas season to see what people have done. We took my mother a couple of years ago, but she didn't seem to notice and just wanted to get home, so we don't do that any more.
No matter what we do, whether look for prize winning displays or not, we always get to Derrick Bang's house. Derrick is the former entertainment editor for The Davis Enterprise. He was the guy who hired me to be a critic.
Derrick is also an AVID Peanuts fan and has written several books about Charles Schulz and the Peanuts world.
Derrick also has one of the best decorated houses in Davis. The only reason he didn't win first place for many years was because the contest was run by the newspaper for which he worked. But he always got honorable mention.
The decorations have evolved over the years. It used to be mostly Peanuts related, with cartoons and even Snoopy's doghouse (in case you ever wanted to know what it looked like inside). In the upper window are stuffed Snoopys. He has more Snoopy dogs than FAO Schwarz., I think. There is a train that travels around the house, and he has his own radio station which can be heard a block in either direction of the house.
Lately he has expanded to include other characters, like Minions and the Grinch
We tried to do some decorating on our house a long time ago, but Walt only used one or two strings of lights and it looked kind of stupid. Then one year he draped, decoratively, he thought, them across the bushes in front of the house. Paul commented like it looked like he was spelling "nu nu." Ever after, we referred to our decorating as "the nu nu lights."
The year Paul died, I couldn't bear the thought of putting up the nu nu lights, so we have had nothing that approached "decorating" on the house for many years,
But Ned lives here now and yesterday he put this up:
You can't tell from the photo, but the lights are colored. It's not exactly "Christmas," but considering that we always wish each other peace at this time of year, perhaps it is at least as appropriate as Derrick's display. (Come to think of it I always ask for "world peace and a clean house" for Christmas and Ned has sorta given me both!)
And definitely more interesting than the nu nu lights!
PHOTO OF THE DAY
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This is entry #7205