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!


EDWIN H. PEART said...

I have clicked on the picture of your sister Arlene. Though her hair is a little longer and darker than yours, I can see the family resemblance.She must have been a wonderful person to know just like you are.It's too bad her life ended so soon but then she is in a better place and free of all pain. As I was born in 1941 during the Second World War, most of the toys I got were things that my parent's friends children had outgrown but I loved what I got just the same. With a war on, you just couldn't get a lot of new things. My twin sisters were born in 1944 so the war was over when they started growing up and they were able to get new toys then but I don't ever recall being envious of them. Since Arlene has a 12 year old granddaughter, her legacy will live on through her I'm quite sure. I have some of my music collection playing in the background as I write and I just heard that wonderful song from the late 1960's called Love Can Make You Happy by Mercy. It reminds me that when you show the love of God towards evrybody, even those who are different from you, you cannot help but be happy.Yes, even in secular music, there is a message to be found if you just look for it.If your heart is in the right place, you will find it.

EDWIN H. PEART said...

I have just finished looking at the picture of your sister Arlene. Even though her hair is longer and darker than yours, I can certainly see the family resemblance. Even though I never met her she looks like the kind of person who I could not help but like. She must have been a beautiful person to know and be around. Yes she is gone but she is in a better place now and I'm quite sure she will continue to live on through her grandaughter.Since I was born in 1941 during the Second World War, most of the toys I had as a child were ones that the sons and daughters of my parent's relatives or friends had outgrown as many things were not available with a war going on. My twin sisters were born in 1944 and the war ended just after they turned one year old so they ended getting more new toys. However I was certainly not envious of them as to me toys were fun whether old or new.I have my old rocking chair that I had as a child in my possession that was given to me by my mother's only brother. Both me and my sisters used it and then it was passed on to my sister Marjorie and enjoyed by her son and daughter. After they grew up, I was happy when Marjorie decided to give it back to me as a keepsake and it is sitting proudly in the basement rec room where I have my computer. It has a picture of a little baby duck on the back and I will always treasure the memories it holds. I have my hard drive music collection playing in the background as I write. Two songs that have come on since I have started typing are Love Can Make You Happy by Mercy and Call Me by Chris Montez which are both hits from the 1960's. There are wonderful messages that I have found in both of them. When you show the love of God in your heart towards everybody and don't look down on people who are different from you, you can't help but be a happy person. When all else fails you can always call on God and he will be around even if everyone else is not. Some people who call themselves Christians think that listening to secular music is a sin. By thinking this way, they are limiting God as God can reveal himself in many different ways. There is a message from God in a lot of secular music if you only take the time to look for it and if your heart is right with God, you will find it.