Posted by Ellen

On Friday, baby Summer celebrated her second Fourth of July. Her first was in Philadelphia; this second one was in Warmenhuizen, the small town in North Holland where she now lives with her family. People in Warmenhuizen don't wear red, white, and blue on the Fourth, but Summer's shoes recall her American roots.

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Dressed perfectly for an outing to the Philadelphia Flower Show, and willing to pose for a picture if the photographer's really, really quick.

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Baby Kaspar woke up bright and early–6 a.m.–on his first morning in America. His jetlagged parents were not pleased. No doubt, they hadn't slept quite as soundly as he had during the long flights from Estonia to Chicago.

His grandmother was happy to retrieve him from their room, even at 6 a.m., but Kaspar wasn't so sure about her. He complained. He complained more loudly. So she took him outside for a long walk.

Outside, life was good. Kaspar found pebbles and then some pebbles and after that some pebbles. But back in the house again, where his parents were still trying to sleep, he remembered his distress. His grandmother wasn't his mother or his father. He ran from her.

When she got near, he told her to go away. Loudly. If she came nearer, he ran. This went on till he'd reached the far end of the house, up against the back door, where he could run no further.

There were cushions there on the floor, new pads for the garden furniture, and so it came to pass that Kaspar lay down in the doorway and curled up and went back to sleep.

And his grandmother? "I just sat next to him," she said, "and laughed at this world."

Posted by Ellen

Back in June, baby Summer was a four-pound preemie whose days blurred into nights tethered to the beeps and wires of an apnea monitor.

But by mid-August, when she left Philadelphia to begin life with her adoptive family in a village 50 kilometers north of Amsterdam, Summer was fat and happy and paying attention to the world. That's what a summer on Kater Street will do for you.

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Kaspar Maldre, looking wise beyond his weeks.

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Above, a contestant in the 2010 Hampton Roads Tattoo Expo in Hampton, Virginia, with her baby; below, back view of a contestant in a 2009 Tattoo Expo in Taipei, Taiwan.

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He had a balloon and an inflatable Popeye, but still the 1938 Rice Festival Parade in Crawfordville, Louisiana, just lasted too long.

Some of the signs in the store window appear to be advertising items of clothing for 10 cents, or even 5 cents. That can't be right, but I have no alternative explanation.

Give that baby some spinach, and he'll come round.


Posted by Ellen

Friday was Veterans' Day, but in these pages we have yet to catch up with the holiday from almost a fortnight ago: Halloween.

I kept good statistics this year, and the number one costume at my door, far and away, was Scream. Not the scream pictured here–I don't know who this baby is, just some poor child out alone on the web–but the vampire sort of monster Screams, with identical masks that must have been a really good bargain at Dollar General on 23rd Street. Six Screams got candified here on Kater Street.

As for the non-Screams, we noted:

  • 2 unicorns
  • 2 generic vampires
  • 2 zombies
  • batgirl
  • Super Girl
  • a soccer player
  • Hermione
  • Wonder Woman
  • Artemis, Goddess of the Hunt
  • a jester
  • "a guy from a TV show I like"
  • "a skateboarder who had a wipeout"
  • a baby
  • a bumble bee
  • a vampire
  • a ladybug
  • Hello Kitty
  • a nurse
  • a construction worker
  • a boxer
  • a ninja
  • undecided
  • a princess
  • a monster
Posted by Ellen

"Some time in the 1950s, probably in Decatur, Illinois." That's the baby boomer, stomping away.

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The babe in arms in this picture, Gregory Stein, recently started his freshman year in engineering school at Cornell. His parents are Miriam and Eugene Stein; Eugene is Norman's first cousin.

The urchin in front here is Joe, baby Gregory's second cousin. Joe is currently a music student at the University of Alabama.