Memories - The seventeenth door

In 2000 the ex, my sister and I visited our friend in California. I didn't know it then, but it was the last time we'd go there. For my sister it was the first time in the USA. For many years she had said she would like to see how places were decorated for Christmas there. New York and the Rockefeller Center tree would had been her first choice, but now it had to be San Francisco instead.
The problem was that it was only September and therefore no Christmas in sight (unbelievable, isn't it?). We wore shorts and t-shirts instead of big jackets and boots, went to the beach and to the park and enjoyed the sun.

Then, the last evening before our flight home, Macy's heard our plea and announced their Christmas shop open. Why our friend even asked if we wanted to go, I'll never know. Only my ex declared he couldn't be bothered driving into San Francisco and face the masses, but we had expected that. He settled on the couch with football on TV and a huge bag of popcorn while we three ladies got into the car.

This is the first picture my sister took from the car. Can you see the little trees in the windows?

Then we went inside and we were not disappointed. We had expected to be overwhelmed, but hadn't been ready for quite so many trees - of which the pictures only show a few - each of one full of ornaments.
My sister asked me if I thought it was okay to take a picture. We are not talking cell phone or even digital camera at the time, and I felt it was only polite to ask first (!), so I went to the lady on the counter and explained to her that we were from Germany and could my sister take a photo? She looked at me a little surprised and said of course she could!
This is what you see in this picture. I gave my sister a sign, but hadn't thought she would take one right away, with me in it! (I can't believe how short my hair was then, and to those who know me, do you notice something about my tote bag?)

On Christmas that year my sister put a little photo album together that she gave to me. The following was the last picture in the album with the caption "Bye". I wonder if she had ran out of film. Can you see my friend and me hiding at the right hand edge of the pic?

So where did this memory suddenly come from? I bought three ornaments of one kind that evening and although they are really a little too big for my tree and are usually hanging from some keys of my book cabinets all year, Gundel decided they had to go on the tree this time (she kept tapping on them and what the cat wants, the cat gets).

P.S. These are almost twenty year old prints that I photographed, hence the quality, but you'll get the idea :-)

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