In this beautiful and simple photograph, siblings Margaret Mary Doran Sikora and Joseph John Doran are shown on the day they became my godparents. That’s me, only a few weeks old, making great eye contact with my wonderful godmother. Margie was 34 years old here and her brother, Joe, was only 20 years old. They are both beaming and ignoring the camera as they gaze downward. I love how Margie’s hand tenderly caresses my wee little hand.
In our family godparents were chosen with great care, and I was always very happy that I had two of my favorite relatives as godparents. They both lived in Newark, NJ in the section my family called Down Neck, about one hour away from my childhood home, and they were splendid folks. Living in a much more rural part of New Jersey, it was always exciting to go to the big city of Newark to visit with our relatives, and to shop, and eat out. I can remember going to a wonderful nearby amusement park, called Olympic Park, where Margie won me the biggest stuffed animal – a donkey – that I called Elmer and dragged around with me for years. Sometimes we would get to see the beautiful cherry blossoms in the spring or watch a parade as it came down Springfield Avenue. The best treat was a hot pretzel, in a paper bag, bought from a vender under the highway overpass near Wilson Avenue as we drove in. Other treats were fish and chips, from another local vender, that were bought and packaged in newspaper. But the biggest treat was eating pizza made by my godfather. He was a legendary fantastic cook.
I had a few other photos from the day of my baptism, but not this one. This one was given to me by my cousin, Terry, in a lovely act of generosity. Looking at this picture brings back not just the memory of my godparents faces, but also their gestures and voices. Joe had a way of talking out of the corner of his mouth, like a Jersey wiseguy. Margie had a unique Jersey voice with a sort of raspy lilting accent. They both gave me unconditional love, which is the greatest present any child can ever receive.