Welcome to my blog. Thanks for coming! One day I hope my little piece of internet real estate will be home to lots of family photos, pictures of my scrapbook and card art, with some random thoughts and memories posted on a somewhat regular basis. Mostly my world is very predictable, but occasionally some excitement will find me, so visit often. Who knows what useful (or useless) information you may find here.


Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Vintage Christmas Memories

Well, now, I believe I did promise some old photos, specifically one of a snaggletoothed CathyB (or CathyW at the time) standing in front of a scraggly Christmas tree with curlers in my hair. Well, here it is! Actually, this was one of our more abundant Christmas trees. I remember when my dad cut this tree down and brought it in- it completely filled the set of double windows that looked out over our back yard. Our den is on the back side of the house, though, and passersby going down Broad Street were unable to enjoy our decorations. We solved that issue, in a most "modern" way. We got us one of those silver aluminum trees. Very sparse branches. We hung fuscia-colored balls on the tree. Then, we plugged in this floodlight thingy that had a plastic disc on it, divided into four colors. Yellow, Red, Blue, and Green. The light shone on the tree, the disk would rotate, and just like magic, the entire tree would subtly change from (yep) Yellow, Red, Blue, and Green. We were so proud! Sorry, I got off on a tangent there. Special memories, you know. Warm and fuzzy feelings. Okay, so here I am standing in front of this monstrous tree. So huge, that we didn't have enough decorations to even begin to cover it. Never mind, though, we had those perfect old-timey lights to hang on the branches. You know the ones I'm talking about. They fit the little night-light bulbs. I loved those lights, even though they were so heavy, they always made the branches of our tree sag a little bit. My daddy would hang them on the "inside", as opposed to the outside edges, as the branches were stronger there. This was probably our fattest, most hugest tree ever. Most of our trees were really scrawny. So you will see that my own current personal, pitiful, Charlie-Brown tree comes from a very long line of pitiful trees of Christmases past.

This photo shows a very fat and wide, but very sheer tree. I think the idea here was for Daddy Bill to enjoy the Christmas tree without obscuring his view of the street outside from his favorite chair by the window. I think it worked. I'm sure he didn't miss a thing because of this tree!

And there's a 4-year-old little me in

front of this tree!

Here are a few more of our poor little trees and vintage photos. But you know what? I absolutely loved it that my dad would sometimes let Michael and I go with him into the woods to find a tree, cut it down, and bring it home. I carry with me the memory of how the tree filled our home with the scent of cedar, and how the lights thrilled our young eyes and hearts. One year, when I was married to Randy, I decided to try to re-create that childhood magic by purchasing a large quantity of those lights, and hanging them on our tree. That lasted for about 10 minutes after he got home. Ever the conscientious fireman, he made me take them off the tree and return them to the store, because they are "so dangerous" and "get so hot". Well, umm, yeah, they do get very hot. So I guess (just like how we survived the the days of no car seats, airbags or childproof outlet plugs), we should be extremely grateful that we didn't burn down the house every year at Christmas.
Probably the most longstanding family Christmas tradition has been the Christmas-Eve dinner at Mom & Dad's house. Every year that I can remember, and probably even long before that, Aunt Joyce & Uncle Gene would come to Mama Nay & Daddy Bill's house to spend the night on Christmas Eve. About supper time, we would all gather for the annual chicken-stew feast. Around the table would be Mom and Dad, Michael and I, Mama Nay, Daddy Bill, my great-grandma Grandmother, Aunt Joyce & Uncle Gene. Daddy Bill was just a big kid at heart, and always couldn't wait to "open a parcel". So began the tradition of exchanging little token gifts on Christmas Eve. Thin mints, chocolate covered cherries, knee-high socks, LifeSaver books, etc. It wasn't what the parcel was, it was just the anticipation of opening it. After dinner, we would sit around and talk, while Michael and I kept a close eye on Guy Sharpe's Santa Radar, and made sure we went to bed long before he was due to arrive in Statham. Of course we were too excited to sleep, and many a time poor mom and dad had to stay up wayyyy later than usual- only to be awakened by our eager little voices the next morning at an ungodly early hour. Even as we grew older, we kept the tradition, and though we didn't worry about the Santa Radar any more, it still was one of our favorite events of the year. As I look back with such fond memories, I am thankful for home, thankful for family, and thankful that even though Grandmother, Mama Nay & Daddy Bill are no longer here to celebrate with us, we still hold to the tradition of chicken stew on Christmas Eve. I remember the first year I was married to Randy. We spent the night at mom and dad's on Christmas Eve, but earlier,we spent the late afternoon and evening at the Bennett's, forming a new family tradition. I was excited to be part of a new family, but it still broke my heart to miss Christmas Eve chicken stew with my folks, and I had to be very careful not to let Randy see my tears. At some point, Michael and Uncle Gene began a fierce competition to see who could give the ugliest, tackiest gift. It was a hoot, and the highlight of the evening. After many years of this, with the gifts getting uglier and tackier each year, they finally agreed that they had indeed already exchanged the ugliest and tackiest of gifts EVER and could no longer top one another, and gave up this tradition. Those two found some doozies over the years, that's for sure. Christmas of 2009 found us yet again around the dinner table at mom and dad's. Though we were missing Grandmother, Mama Nay & Daddy Bill, the new generations of our family help to fill the void. There are now grandchildren, great-grandchildren and in-laws to fill the empty seats. The Circle Of Life.
Thank you for indulging me in a moment of Christmas nostalgia. May you find as much joy remembering your Christmases past as I do.
Oh, and please try not to laugh too much at the snaggletoothed, curler-headed, 10-year-old version of yours truly.

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