Christmases to remember

This will be my 84th Christmas.

I have a very small memory of getting out of bed one Christmas morning to see a little wicker doll buggy and a doll for each my sister and me. I was told later that I took one look and went back to bed. That tells you what an exciting child I was. Really, I bet it was pretty darn cold because the house was cold all night. I can still remember the sound of Dad shaking the ashes out of the stove and putting coal in the stove to get the house warmed up for the day.

A year or two later times were hard and mom saved coupons from buying groceries to pay for a doll with eyes that closed for my sister and me to share. She stayed up nights to make clothes for it. Shirley Temple dolls were only for the “rich” kids and we knew we wouldn’t ever get a Shirley Temple doll so we named her Shirley. We played with her for many years. As we got older we had paper dolls. They had the most beautiful clothes.

After we opened our presents it was off to Grandma and Grandpa’s house on the farm. We looked forward to that for weeks. We had to bundle up and wrap ourselves in blankets to drive seven miles in the cold. I think we ate all day. We had homemade bread and butter and cream whipped by hand in a blue and white bowl. Every single thing was home cooked, baked and home grown. Lots of homemade candy too. I think the only thing they bought was peanuts in the shell and Dad ate them all through the winter. He sat by the stove listening to the radio and dropped the shells in the coal bucket. Conversations were pretty calm until Grandpa started in on the democrats. Grandma was very meek and just sat quietly. One year it snowed so bad we had to stay overnight. Grandma said it was the best Christmas ever.

Mom’s sisters, our Aunts Bernice and Helen were still living at home. They “worked out” as it was called for people that could afford to pay them. They had wonderful presents for us. They were both very pretty and had nice clothes. They gave us their old clothes to play dress up. Loved those high heeled shoes.

As we grew up we still loved that trip to Grandma’s. Bernice bought the spindliest artificial tree I ever saw and filled it with decorations to fill the gaps.

In 1943 we moved to the farm and Grandpa and Grandma moved to town. Now they had electricity and we didn’t. It was quite a change, but Christmas was still at Grandma’s.

This was wartime and things were different, but Christmas was still Christmas.

I will end this story for now and try to write a sequel next week.

Published in: on November 21, 2014 at 2:31 am  Leave a Comment