Christmas Princesses, 1989


They were cousins, 10, 11, and 12, visiting their grandparents in Colorado in 1989. Their grandmother conspired with their mothers and played to the little girls’ vanity to ‘beautify’ them with matching outfits. They were still young enough to believe that this would be cute. Given a large bathroom to primp in, they pretended to know how to use curlers and blow dryers. This was Christmas, 23 years ago, in Durango, Colorado. A simpler world, a world before Facebook and Snooki, when curtains of snow blowing off the San Juan Mountains made the warmth of family special. Now they are all married: one is an LPN, one an on-line marketing manager, and one a lieutenant in the U.S. Navy. They live in the corner pockets of America. Now when we go to church on Christmas Eve we see girls in jeans or jeggings or tights, and boys in football jerseys. Now people check their cell phones for text messages. But in the darkness of this time of year there is only one Message.

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