The last time my sister came to see me in California was sometime in the 1980s. I was selling real estate and living in Newport Beach (Orange County) when she flew into San Francisco. Back then she was a pilot. She called me after landing -- this was before cell phones -- and asked for directions to my house. Well, take a left and drive 500 miles.
Although I've been working as a real estate agent and living in Sacramento for more than 8 years now, my sister has never come to visit. We've previously met up in Hawaii for a winter vacation, and I've been back to Minneapolis to attend a friend's funeral on Christmas Day several years ago, but our schedules haven't allowed us to get together much.
Above is a photo of my sister, shot the day she left to go home after her Thanksgiving visit. She developed a special bond with my cat, Pica. With any luck, she might move to Sacramento, and I surely hope she does. I love her and miss her. Apart from my husband and his family back in Chicago, she and my niece are my family. Family is important. And family becomes even more important the older we get, or maybe it's age that brings us the wisdom to realize it.
Nobody understands family more than Freddie Mac. Freddie Mac announced yesterday it will not throw families out in the street over Christmas. We won't be seeing images like those from the Great Depression, with cigar-smokin' bankers yanking children through doorways and tossing them to the curb, stuffed bunnies and blankets and all. Nope, no film from Roger and Me, boarding up an empty house and flashing to a snowbank used as the back drop for battered suitcases and a scraggly Christmas tree. Naw, this is 2010. This is when we only pretend to play nice.
From December 20th to January 3rd, Freddie Mac will hold off on evictions. You can bet your holiday eggnog Fannie Mae, and a few other government agencies, will jump onboard as well. It would be significant if there was a social conscience attached to this decision, but you and I both know that is asking for too much.
Photo: Elizabeth Weintraub