Sunday, December 23, 2012

* Nostalgic Sunday *

It's time for another Nostalgic Sunday!

Last night I thought about Christmases of long ago, and it occurred to me to share a few lines from various chapters in my memoir. 
The first one involves my sister Jo Ann, my brother Mike and me. I was 10 years old.(my parents were recently divorced at this time)
.......another very cold Sunday, Jo Ann, Mike and I were at Mass. When it was time to go to Communion, we were still completely bundled up in our heavy winter coats. Since we walked the few blocks to church, we never did warm up. As we knelt at the Communion railing, all of a sudden one of the shiny, gold buttons on Mike's coat popped off and went soaring up towards the altar. I guess he had on one too many layers that day and the thread couldn't hold any longer. And of course, being in a situation where we shouldn’t laugh, it made us want to giggle all the more. We couldn’t help but do that silent, shoulder shaking laughing and a bit of snorting, too. Luckily, the button didn’t hit the priest, or anyone else, but it pinged a couple of times as it bounced around the marble floor and steps. I could feel many pairs of eyes scanning the front of church, wondering who the culprits were. The three of us managed to get through the rest of Mass without causing any more commotion, but I don’t think we could've said what the closing hymn was. We were too busy trying to keep solemn faces and weren't doing a very good job of it.

I remember a few things all the way back to when I was three years old. The following are some of them.

My brother and I never believed in Santa Claus. Why, you may ask? Our mother didn’t want us to! She said when she learned the truth as a little girl she was so devastated she didn’t want her own children to ever suffer the way she did. Huh?! ....
...I watched my older sisters Marian and JoAnn wrap presents.....Some years we had Snow-in-a-Can and Dad sprayed that fake stuff all over the tree. I actually have a few delicate ornaments with that gunk still on them......Those early Christmases were perfect and I still carry them in my heart. Our tiny house didn't overflow with gifts or decorations, but with our family's love. There was a warmth to our home that I felt even as a little girl of three or four years old.

Becky & Mike
get a load of my knock knees!
The time frame of the following speaks for itself.
......I particularly remember getting an idea in my head the Christmas I was 12 years old. I truly believed he was going to “come to his senses” and come home to us. (I’m pretty sure that idea came from my mother.)  I sat for hours in our living room, facing the front door, listening to Bing Crosby croon “I’ll Be Home for Christmas." I played that record so many times, I almost wore it out.  I just knew any minute he would burst through the door, ask for forgiveness and be loaded down with gifts for all of us, including Mother. It was a scene I played repeatedly in my wistful daydreams. I made sure the porch light was on, so Dad could find our house. But of course, that never happened.  (The title of this chapter is "Thoughts On Love & Forgiveness," and was published in Chicken Soup for the Soul; Divorce & Recovery in 2008.)

Although most of my adolescent Christmases were lonely, because they were spent without my dad, I choose more times than not to remember those early, happy ones.

Wishing everyone the merriest of Christmases!

 "Memory is the library of the mind." -- Francis Fauvel Gouraud