The Charles Joseph Larkin

Family Memory

His son Brian wrote this note on Christmas Eve 
Each year, as I am wrapping Christmas presents, I think of your dad

By Brian Larkin, December 20, 2001

Each year, as I am wrapping Christmas presents, I think of your dad.

Your grandfather, as you probably know, had a real artistic talent. I recall once (I was probably four or five years old at the time) him telling me about studying art in school back home in Ireland. I recall him telling me his teachers thought he had a lot of talent and wanted him to go on to study art in high school. But, for reasons that I as a pre-schooler didn't understand but simply accepted, the eighth grade was as far as he was allowed to go. Your Rhode Island cousins have some information that he worked as an artist of some kind before coming to the United States. I never knew about that and I am fairly certain that he never worked as an artist once he came here. But I do know that he did do some personal drawings and cards. Your Aunt Maureen may even have something he did.

Your dad inherited your grandfather's talent, while, so far as I know, neither Aunt Maureen nor your late Uncle Dennis nor I between us inherited enough artistic talent to paint a flag pole. And that gets me back to remembering your dad each year when I wrap Christmas presents. My presents looked like wrapped boxes held together with string and scotch tape and decorated with a kind of pitiful hand-tied bow. His were works of art. His bows alone were more than I could ever dream of creating.

I can remember when your dad, aunt and I were preteenagers wrapping Christmas presents at the kitchen table on School Street. You probably remember that table. We also wrapped birthday and other presents there but Christmas is what I remember most because it was the biggest occasion. Your aunt and I were always envious of his gifts. His looked just gorgeous. Aunt Maureen was less envious than I because he usually did hers for her. Uncle Dennis was younger and I usually did his wrapping for him. No one ever ooh'ed and aah'ed over ours though. But they did for his.

You may recall in a hand drawn Christmas card your dad sent to Aunt Elizabeth asking how people ever lived before scotch tape was invented? It was a light hearted comment, but the truth is that his presents were done so carefully and beautifully that you could not see any scotch tape. The wrapping was a work of art in itself.

What brings this up is that I've been wrapping presents most of the afternoon. They are presentable. They are perhaps even attractive. The best however are just the kind of pedestrian craftsmanship you would expect from the gift wrap section at K-Mart. And I always remember how your dad could make an ordinary book look like it was a gift for a king.

'Nollaig Shona Duit' -- HAPPY CHRISTMAS!

Uncle Brian