Jon's long-time friend Sara Foss writes a newspaper column in my old home town.  Recently the family stopped by for a visit, and ended up featured in the latest Foss Forward.  Having given Jon ample time to post about it himself, I'm breaking the news here, along with some of my favorite excerpts.  :)

[M]y friend Jon; his pregnant wife, Heather; and their three young children — ages 2, 4 and 7 — visited my home in Albany.

Naturally, I was all freaked out about having a bunch of kids descend upon my one-bedroom apartment, which lacks toys, children’s books and games. I did run out and buy pretzels and graham crackers, so that they could have a snack, but for the most part I felt woefully unprepared to entertain my young visitors.

Fortunately, the New York State Museum is right around the corner, and after a brief stint in my apartment, in which the girl played with my collection of turtle knickknacks (I even filled a bowl with water so that she could watch the plastic wind-up turtle paddle around) and her brothers improvised a game of darts in the bedroom, we headed up the street. I suspected the kids would enjoy riding on the carousel, looking at gems and stuffed animals and playing on the computers in the Discovery Room, and I was right.

In truth, I never should have worried about whether I would be able to entertain Jon’s family for an afternoon.

I’ve known Jon since I was 2, and I sensed that his kids were a lot like him — curious, imaginative, friendly, eager to do new things and see new places. What I enjoyed most about them was how well they played on their own; I didn’t have to worry about entertaining them because they entertained themselves. In fact, it seemed like they had just as much fun running up and down the sidewalk and jumping in snowbanks as hanging out in the museum, and their antics reminded me a bit of how Jon and I used to play in the snow when we were kids.

The subject of the article is the habit people have of comparing children, especially babies, with their parents:  "He sure looks like his mom"; "That's Uncle Frank's nose"; "She walks just like her father."  Sara would agree with Porter's mother, who always insisted, "They look like themselves."

I'll admit to playing the game, including very recently with Joseph, who I think looks very much like his dad from the nose up and his mom from the nose down—based on baby pictures of both.

Jon’s older boy had always struck me as very Jon-like — highly verbal at a young age, interested in puzzles and games, etc. — but now I see more of his mother in him, especially in his face.

I remarked upon this, and Jon said that when they visit his hometown, everyone comments on how much the older boy looks like him — “It’s Jon!” — while Heather’s relatives and friends always note his resemblance to her.

The younger boy did look a lot like Jon, as well as Jon’s brothers, while I had a tough time figuring out exactly who the girl reminded me of, if anyone.

Here's my contribution to the debate about Jonathan.  To be fair, I need a similar photo of Jon; it's hard for those of us who didn't know him as a blond boy not to be influenced by hair color.  And I would be remiss if I did not point out that "highly verbal at a young age, interested in puzzles and games, etc." is also a fair description of Jonathan's mother.  :)


Posted by sursumcorda on Sunday, January 16, 2011 at 4:51 pm | Edit
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Wow, I always read Sara Foss, and read it yesterday, not identifying the subjects. I cut it out -- do you want me to sent it to you after I make a copy for L? I enjoy Foss. More local news. Freddie Freihofer, age 91, died this past week. That article is ready for L. also. In case you can't pull out that name, it was Jim Fisk.

Keep writing and I'll keep reading.

Posted by Ruth Campbell on Sunday, January 16, 2011 at 6:52 pm

Certain inexplicable events send electrical thrills through my body and make my knees weak: looking at the sky from a balcony in Rio de Janeiro and seeing Orion upside down, snorkeling in one of Florida's crystal-clear springs and suddenly finding myself floating over an abyss, ... and learning that my childhood neighbor regularly reads a newspaper column written by someone who was an attendant my daughter's wedding.

Yes, I'd love a copy of the article -- and of the one about Freddie Freihofer, too. That's the only TV show I was ever part of, if you don't count a snippet or two in news stories. I can still sing the jingle:

Freddie Freihofer, we think you're swell,
Freddie we love all the stories you tell,
We love your cookies, your bread and your cakes,
We love everything Freddie Freihofer bakes!

Who wants a Squiggle?!

Posted by SursumCorda on Sunday, January 16, 2011 at 10:21 pm

Oh, Freddie, We're ready,
We're waiting for you,
Freddie, we love everything that you do,
We love your cookies...

"Here comes the Freihofer man!!"

I'm glad you remembered the ending song; I could only remember the beginning one:)

Posted by Laurie on Monday, January 17, 2011 at 8:35 am

I've said before that you are the other half of my brain; sometimes I think you remember more of my childhood than I do. :)

Posted by SursumCorda on Monday, January 17, 2011 at 9:48 am

You would also need a picture without glasses, since that biases the comparison.

I'm not sure if I have a young picture of me in electronic form.

Posted by Jon Daley on Monday, January 17, 2011 at 12:22 pm

Especially since the glasses in question are actually Heather's....

Posted by SursumCorda on Monday, January 17, 2011 at 12:27 pm

As long as we're revealing how old we are, I'll admit one of my favorite memories from those days: Seeing the horse-drawn Freihofer van come by our house. Such vehicles were rare by then, and anything involving horses was special. But every time I would comment that I wished there were more horses and fewer cars, my father would remind me that horse-drawn transport is not without its own emissions problems.

Posted by SursumCorda on Monday, January 17, 2011 at 1:32 pm

And growing corn for biofuel is not much different from growing oats for biofuel, except that the oats require less processing and probably give you better miles per bushel.

Posted by Stephan on Monday, January 17, 2011 at 4:27 pm

And the circle between the energy source and the emissions is more obviously closed with the oats/horse combination, although that doesn't play out well in the city.

Posted by SursumCorda on Monday, January 17, 2011 at 4:41 pm

Though I read in Four Season Harvest or another book by the same author, that all the emissions from the horses in Paris went to the outlying gardens year-round and the introduction of the automobile greatly reduced the fresh produce production for the city.

Posted by joyful on Monday, January 17, 2011 at 8:26 pm

Back to the original subject - when I read the title of Sara's post, I thought that she might relate another incident of the night. On her bookshelf is a little square photo of Sara, Jon, and Sara's sister when they were somewhere around 6-9 years old (my guess.) When we asked Jonathan who the boy was, he said, "Me?"

Posted by joyful on Monday, January 17, 2011 at 8:30 pm

i've always thought jonathan looks just like heather, and noah like jon. faith looks a lot like heather/jonathan, too.

but those pictures - really couldn't get more obvious. he looks just like heather! glasses or not.

Posted by serina on Thursday, January 20, 2011 at 9:41 pm

Revisiting this post seven years later, I'll note that at 14 Jonathan now looks and sounds a whole lot more like Jon than like Heather. :) I'm likely to guess wrong 50 percent of the time when a deep male voice answers the phone.

Posted by SursumCorda on Tuesday, July 17, 2018 at 9:49 am
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