Monday, December 8, 2008

Remembering Christmas Past

Music plays in the background. "It's the most wonderful time of the year..."Well, not exactly. Christmas has always been, for me one of those happy-sad times of the year. In 2008, it's no different. I am reflecting back on the last 63 Christmas celebrations
If you have been following my blog, you know that my Twin sister, Arlene, passed away in June. This is my first Christmas without her. In her will, along with other things she left me, she said, "To my sister Darlene, I leave 63 years of memories." So, this is part of her gift to me...memories good and bad. I want to share a few of the good ones with you.
As children, on our very first Christmas, an Aunt,gave us matching ornaments. Well, almost matching. If you look closely, you will see a rattle shaped red man, and the blue one on the upper right side of Arlene's picture. Mine was the blue one. Every year at Christmas, these were the first ornaments on the tree. We weren't allowed to play with them, but to me, the tree wasn't complete until both the blue man and the red man were hung on the limbs.
When I was in college, mom gave me the blue man, and I began my own tradition of hanging it on my tree each year. Arlene got her red man and needless to say, it became a treasure to display, as it was the one thing that was as old as we were.
This year, after Arlene died, my other sister, Debbie was sorting through things to go into the yard sale, or be passed along to Arlene's granddaughter, Cheristy. There in the middle of lights, and paper ornaments, was the Red man. Of course, Debbie knew the history behind the ornaments. When she came to California in September, she brought Arlene's ornaments and gave it to me. This week, as I began to pull out lights, and ornaments from past years, I found my blue man. Once again both are hanging on my tree, a reminder of those early years, and my sister. Thanks mom, for making sure we kept them safe year after year, so they could be part of my 63 years of memories!
So, other memories from Childhood Christmas Time. We always seemed to be sick with colds, and mom would put a pan of water on top of the wood stove in the dining room, and fill it with Vicks Vapo Rub. She would put a sheet over our heads like a tent, and we would stand there and breathe the fumes. The radio would be playing Christmas songs from local DJ's. Yes, this was the days before television!!! I remember hard striped Christmas Candy, which I couldn't find this year...A story book box of lifesavers- butterscotch is still my favorite! and then, decorating the tree with mom. When we were really young, the tinsel got thrown in bunches up on the limbs. I was never patient enough to do one strand at a time! This was back in the 40's...and the economy was repressed, much like 2008. Money was hard to come by, but we each got one toy and one clothing item. There was a good will group called the sunshine kids, who would bring us a surprise item, and that was pretty much our Christmas. We always had snow and sometimes extra money could be earned by cleaning walkways for neighbors. As I grew older, it wasn't what I received, but what I could share with others, even if it's just 63 years of memories. Where ever you are, and who ever you are, my prayer is that you cherish the Christ of Christmas and the family times you have, even if it remembered by a special ornament! Merry Christmas to each and every reader! Thanks Mom...thanks Arlene, thanks Debbie. I'll keep the little guys on the tree for as long as I'm alive!