I've put in this photo of him when he was just 3 years old, standing with his older brother in their school uniforms.
He looks so innocent & cute, much too young to be going off to school or preschool or whatever it was. Thank goodness we are more relaxed about kindergarten wear these days. Can you imagine playing in sand or water or with fingerpaints with those clothes on.
I love his mothers handwriting on the back of this photo.
Chris grew up in Manchester, England until his family emmigrated to Australia when he was 9 years old. He grew up in fairly tough conditions, not quite 'Billy Elliot' style but there are always loads of funny stories that come out when the 6 of them are together (which is a rare event now that they all live in different states).
One story that gets repeated every birthday is the 'potato cake' story....
There wasn't much money in the household & their mother had a very tight budget. They had very few luxuries but plenty of loving. One year (maybe 7th) as a very special treat the 3 older children were allowed to go to the local bakery to get a 'shop bought cake' for Chris' birthday. Chris had the important job of carrying home the cake but once they got to the front door Brendan pushed Chris over & the cake & Chris went down. The cake was ruined & not fit for anything.
So that night instead of a lovely cake, Chris' mother made do with a potato with a candle sticking in it. Not a cooked potato, not even a washed or pink skinned potato, just a brushed potato with a solitary candle to blow out.
Chris always brings out this story if anyone thinks they are hard done by. No one can top the potato for a cake story.
So our tradition is that you always get a cake for your birthday....irony is that Chris doesn't even eat cake, maybe the trauma of the potato cake got to him!
But I still make one just the same & we all sing 'Happy Birthday' to him & he blows out the candles.