On a recent evening in the glowing apartment above his parents’ store, C’Est La Vie on Circuit avenue, Roger Schilling, Jr., who turns two years old on Dec. 26, received his guests and, more importantly, his presents. French-born Isabelle Morley handed him one of the first. I was seated in the big, cozy, eat-in kitchen, and I offered to help Roger open it. This consisted of placing the object in my lap from which vantage point the toddler ambidextrously tore off strip after strip, holding each straight out from his side, left, right, left, right, as the particles fluttered like autumn leaves to the floor. The gift was a book called Caillou, in honor of baby Roger’s budding bilingualism, thanks to his French-born dad, Roger Sr., of the long dreadlocks and movie-star chiseled face. Mom Jennifer, also gorgeous, communicates in good old Pennsylvania English.
Little Roger, dressed in yellow Osh-kosh overalls and a black-and-white striped shirt, was eager to have the book read to him, although the words on the page, appropriately, interested him less than the pictures of cuddly kids or animals, which caused him to point and let loose with a hearty, almost swashbuckling laugh. Next he hauled out another recent gift, a series of miniature books in a special box, each one the French version of some of our old English fairy tales such as Goldilocks and the Three Bears (Boucle d’Or), and The Three Little Pigs (Les Petits Trois Cochons). Each one of these inspired petit Roger to open a single page, point and guffaw at one of the animals, then flip the tiny text onto the table and reach for the next.
Another couple of books made it into Roger’s burgeoning library, then Steve McCullough arrived and handed the birthday kid the perfect boy gift, a display of plastic carpenter tools, each embedded in its own shaped mold. As the toddler pulled more and more peels of paper from the emerging treasure (again, positioned on my lap), Roger kept exclaiming, “Thank you!” “Thank you!” –a combined display of precocious good manners with nonstop appreciation – and since Steve had left the kitchen to greet fellow guests, I received the clear impression that I, on whose person the goods stood revealed, undeservedly won the whole of the credit.
Once the clear plastic case was opened, Roger plucked out each tool in turn – hammer, drill, Phillip’s head screwdriver, the other kind of screwdriver, pliers, etc. — and carried each held high in his fist towards the front room to show his prize to everyone gathered under the single roof. The forward scuttle of the two-year-old is a joy to behold: feet are set hip-length apart, knees straight, legs scissoring, head and shoulders thrust slightly forward to crank up the pace. Nijinsky it ain’t, but it’s a dance move in its own right.
Everyone who enjoys daily business on Circuit avenue has watched this cutie grow, from his first debut as a newborn two years ago, to his initial words (at the sight of me, it inspired him to point at my dog and cry, “Woof!”), to his early steps. Now he’s at that age when he tears around as if at any minute he plans to fly, and the rest of us continue to enjoy his joie de l’enfant even as Jen and Roger are left with the job of chasing after him.
There were two other tots at the celebration, 23-month-old Isabelle Pardee (parents Doug and Ana), all blue-eyed and pretty in pink, and 22-month-old Piper Blau (parents J.B. and Heidi), delicate as an English doll in a red-plaid dress, though she showed bionic vigor bashing Roger’s plastic hammer against its case. All three kiddies are at that age when playtime is a matter of sharing a room with a mien of magisterial indifference, an attitude which, if it were re-adopted by grownup humanity, would go a long way towards winning us world peace.
The Oak Bluffs School is pleased to announce the hiring of a new guidance counselor for the middle school, April Knight-Scheffer who has been working in many capacities at Community Services. She’ll be starting in Oak Bluffs on Jan. 5.
Another piece of marvelous news from the school — the kids collected a whopping $2,511.62 for the Red Stocking Fund.
This just in from the library — if you’d like your own data e-mailed you from the OBPL, log on to their Web site at oakbluffslibrary.org to learn about upcoming new computer classes, lectures, book talks, downloadable MP3 and audiobooks, movie screenings, and more. Library hours for the holidays: This august institution will be closed on Dec. 25, Dec. 26, and New Year’s Day, Jan. 1. Otherwise, on all open days, regular hours will apply.