Sunday, December 21, 2014

This Child’s Christmas

When I was little, we didn’t really have many Christmas traditions. We were in a Chicago suburb.  All the rest of the family was in St. Paul, MN. - we moved away in 1946.  There was no Grandma’s house to go to, no cousins to play with.  From age four to ten Christmas was just Mom, Dad and me.

I don’t remember Christmas dinners but I’m sure that Mom served something that was a tradition for her. As a kid, I wasn’t a foodie.

We’d go to Midnight Mass and then to bed; and I’d try to get to sleep quickly so that Christmas morning would arrive  

Before I entered first grade, Mom explained the truth about Santa because she was concerned that other kids would spoil it for me if I still believed.  I was sworn to secrecy so as not to ruin Christmas for a true believer.  Even so, no gifts appeared under the tree before Christmas except those that were received from far away relatives. Knowing about Santa didn’t diminish my anticipation.  There was always something special under the tree on that fantastic morning.

From about second grade on, I asked every year for a Chemistry Set. But Mom was afraid I’d burn down the house so it never arrived.

One year was the electric train – a great Lionel train set. I loved it and Dad let me think it was mine.  It DID have my name on the gift tag.

There were building blocks and an erector set.

There was a record player with an album with the story of Johnny Appleseed narrated and sung by Dennis Day.  I sobbed at the end when Johnny went to his heavenly reward.

There were Nancy Ann Storybook dolls. One year there was a beautiful Alice in Wonderland doll complete with a gorgeous coat with a Persian Lamb collar made by Mom who was an accomplished seamstress.

There was a 26 inch blue and cream Schwinn bike for a 7 year old girl.  I’d grow into it.  It had a headlight and a battery powered horn.  But no training wheels.  Dad taught me to ride.

Dad was a machinist at an International Harvester tractor factory. My folks counted every penny.  They spent a lot of those precious pennies on me at Christmas. 

I was a very lucky little girl.

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