Monday, December 15, 2014

Once Upon A Time

Christmas Eve - A very long time ago...

For almost two weeks there would be no more getting up early and going out into the blustery cold, walking backwards to avoid the sting of the icy snow on our faces to our bus stop to wait on the bus.  School had been dismissed for the year.  The excitement of Christmas vacation had dulled and new enthusiasm rested in knowing that Christmas Eve had arrived.  We had counted the months, the days, the hours.  It was finally here.

I wanted a baby doll.  Every year I wanted a baby doll.  I had spent the past couple of months,  since the Sears Wish Book arrived, carefully studying each doll.  I rated them on how many outfits were included and if they had a bottle, the kind with the fake milk or juice that would magically disappear when the baby was fed.   

I could hardly wait for tomorrow to get here so I could hold that baby, bringing her to my nose to smell her newness.

Three brothers and two sisters flitted through the little four room house, laughing and telling stories of Santa and Christmas's past.   The door of the pot belly stove clanged as Mom opened it and shoved the poker inside, stirring the coal, then shaking the ashes from the bottom.  "Don't forget to put your socks out," she said.  She did not have to remind us.  We were on it.  

Christmas Morning - A very long time ago

Sunrise.  Eagerness.  Our ritual chant of "We want up!"  Mom gave us the okay.

The black and white living room that had been abandoned the night before was converted into a magical display of color and great lights of reds, blues, and greens bounced off the gray wall showing bright on the long needle pine tree that sat in the corner of the little living room.  And oh, the smell of Christmas!  Silver tinsel hung heavy on the branches with long brilliant bubble lights, erupting and mesmerizing.  Toys lay unwrapped beneath the tree and we each scurried to find our gifts from Santa.  Our socks lay nearby, filled with sweet smells of oranges, candy and nuts. 

I found my baby and examined her accessories.  She came with a bottle of magic milk, two changes of clothes, and a blanket.   My life could not be any more perfect!

Hearts were light and joy filled the air.

Christmas Night - A very long time ago

I adjusted my earphones into my ears and slowly moved the dial on the new transistor radio that Santa had left me.  Some stations were in a language I did not understand but I listened, wowed by the thought that I could tune in to a happening taking place in a far end of the world.

I tried to sleep, but the enchantment of Christmas day was still thick in the air.  My other siblings (sleeping in the same room) had become silent and were fast asleep, but my older sister Rita and my older brother Jimmy were just off of our bedroom in the living room playing with their new tape recorder.   Into the early hours of the morning they played, and laughed.  I giggled beneath my covers, thinking about how these two were so comical, and glad to be their sister.  I admired them so...

December 16, 2014

Tomorrow my sister Rita will travel to Pennsylvania to spend yet another Christmas with my big brother Jim.  She will be there for as long as he needs her.  The laughter will be minimal though, and the feeling of utopia that was felt on that Christmas day almost fifty years ago, will be replaced by a gut-wrenching pain, a sadness, a yearning for younger more innocent times when cancer was not spoken of and our lives were infinity and beyond.   

Rita and Jimmy
Jimmy and Rita
Us

A more recent Us

Once upon a time, there was Christmas magic.  But then, the years swept away that magic and all that was left was cancer and death and dying.  But if I close my eyes and think real hard, memories and  magic return.  And I'm a little girl again.




Daughters and Dogs

Me, with my daughter.... Me, with her daughter... Gracie, with her accomplishment.   Yes, she can now jump on the highes...