You might also like

Monday, December 22, 2014

My Christmas memory


Twenty one of us signed on over at Janie Junebug's Women: We shall Overcome to post a Christmas memory piece today. Janie even wrote a tutorial for me, to use the linky bit. Of course, I have failed the linky test. I hope you will bail me out by going to her blog and finding the Christmas memory post links at the bottom of her post. Here's my contribution:



My Christmas memory

I could be older, but fortunately I’m not.  I was born during the war, of Depression era parents, and grew up in the halcyon time between the return of the troops and Woodstock. It was good to be a child then; our mothers put us outside after breakfast and with brief pauses for lunch and supper we were back out until the street lights came on. In winters we were put out in snow suits.

We had few expectations except those meals, baths, bedtime and that our parents took care of us. They didn't say they loved us, but we put the word to it later on, when we learned to read and encountered the word. Sometimes they would say things like “Tomorrow is your birthday!” and come tomorrow we had a cake for dessert, and a present. Socks, underwear. Once I got a much needed wastebasket for my room.

Adult excitement did mount between Thanksgiving and Christmas, The Holidays. Large gatherings of the extended families happened then, on the days, and in between. Babysitters appeared and parents passed before us, dressed in their best, going to parties. We sat in a row on the sofa and watched them leave. 

The big day would arrive, ushered in by the children at five or six in the morning. A book, a longed for blouse, the gift of Lincoln logs or an erector set for all the children. Nothing left to do but have waffles for breakfast and wait for the main event, mid-afternoon dinner at a grandparent’s home or a favorite aunt and uncle.

Oh, the arrival by back doors into the warm and steamy kitchen. Coats piled on a bed, women moving in the kitchen, men in a cloud of smoke in the living room, children shooed until they reformed into cousin clumps playing Monopoly or Parcheesi.

In spite of best efforts, eventually the kitchen table might be ringed with small children who were tided over until dinner with graham crackers and milk. Two grandmothers at the stove would be fussing over gravy while the daughters-in-law mashed sweet potatoes and refilled coffee cups for men.

Eventually we were all around the table, passing dishes, plates prepared for little ones, and meat cut. For an afternoon the hum of the grown up voices and the clink of the silver over our heads, the warmth from the kitchen, surrounding us with the comfort of care. 

Remembering, carrying our own children and grandchildren, asleep, up the stairs to be put into bed after Christmas at grandma’s.




28 comments:

  1. Dear Joanne,

    Just listening to your memories reminded me of my own childhood memories...except I had no grandparents except for one, my mother's mother, who died when I was 8. I think my grandfather (my father's father) died when I was just 2, so I don't remember him, and my father's mother died when my father was a young boy of 9, I think. I remember my mother had a Currier and Ives (blue) set of dishes, the creamer, the sugar bowl and the rest of the set and to this day when I see these dishes my memories come flooding back to my childhood.

    Your photo is lovely, thank you so much for sharing, and Merry Christmas to you.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I only had one grandmother, too, but I had her parents, my great grandparents. That's a meal at their home, Grandma and Grandpa Cox.

      Delete
  2. I failed the linky bit too!

    Your memories are so lovely.. and they resonate with me. My mum's pride and joy used to be the meal... the table .. the family
    Nice picture too.. thanks for sharing

    ReplyDelete
  3. Hey, how'd you get a picture of my family at Christmas?
    And did I say you could post it on your blog?

    I probably did.
    I'm getting to that age where I tend to forget the details...
    along with all the rest.

    ~ D-FensDogg
    'Loyal American Underground'

    ReplyDelete
  4. Love the perpetual motion of your memory. Mine were similar except that there was no extended family to share it with. Immediate family was all we had. Now? The immediate family has grown and spread, and future generations will have a crowded family memory to revel in.

    ReplyDelete
  5. the years that are too far gone to remember were probably happy years in the way of children who don't really know what's going on. the years with strong memories weren't that great. I did write about it once on my blog.

    ReplyDelete
  6. Beautiful memories of a kinder time...that could have been a photo of our family gathered at the table.

    ReplyDelete
  7. Not disimilar from my own childhood memories Joanne - things seem to have been so much simpler then don't they - and we had no expectations so were pleased with whatever gifts we were lucky enough to be given. Those were the days!

    ReplyDelete
  8. Hari OM
    It's always a wonder how we can feel the familiarity, yet also know the things which differed...wonderful offering... YAM xx

    ReplyDelete
  9. Sounds very much like the Christmases I remember. I think we got a few more presents and there was football on the TV, but otherwise very much the same.

    ReplyDelete
  10. So sweet. Many things sound similar - Your memories make me smile.
    Very nice to meet you. Have a lovely Christmas.

    ReplyDelete
  11. That would have been a fascinating time in which to grow up. Merry Christmas!

    ReplyDelete
  12. My memories are similar to yours. It was more about spending time with lots of people than spending money on too many presents. It still is that way for me, except, I do overdo on my grandchildren.

    Beautiful post, Joanne.

    ReplyDelete
  13. What a great photo. Thanks for hopping with us. I didn't know that you just wanted to publish the list. My instructions would have been shorter and somewhat different.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It's OK, Janie. I'm rather proud of failing the linky test. It means I can have old memories.

      Delete
  14. "I have failed the linky test." That was funny. Nice memory, and Merry Christmas.

    ReplyDelete
  15. Very nice memories. thanks for sharing. Merry Christmas.

    ReplyDelete
  16. Lovely post. Times have changed since my youth and my children and grandchildren are scattered over the planet here in the future. We'll spend the holiday with another emptynested couple dining on a riverboat. New traditions are always waiting.

    ReplyDelete
  17. So enjoyed reading this! What wonderful memories from days long ago and what a great picture to share with us from that time!

    betty

    ReplyDelete
  18. So much of this reminded me of my own youth--and I adore that photo at the end!--but one detail in your gorgeous memory here struck me: you had mashed SWEET potatoes? Wow. I never heard of a sweet potato before I was in my 30s.

    Thank you for this. It's a lovely addition to my Xmas week.

    ReplyDelete
  19. A wonderful, wonderful memory Joanne.
    Times were so much simpler then.

    ReplyDelete
  20. What a wonderful Christmas memory! Love it.

    ReplyDelete
  21. Lovely memories! I think that children now also enjoy the family things at Christmas, even though they (arguably) get too many presents these days. Have a lovely Christmas, Joanne!

    ReplyDelete
  22. I enjoyed reading this Joanne. Wishing you all a very happy Christmas xx

    ReplyDelete
  23. Your memories are so like mine. Merry Christmas Joanne.

    ReplyDelete
  24. Me too... memories so similar. In our family there was a kid-size table and chairs in the kitchen and that's where we all sat. I don't know how many cousins were there but I had one cousin who was an adult... she was funny, loved kids and always sat with us little guys in the kitchen. My family was probably barely making ends meet, but we had a dining room and a huge table with at least 2 thingys to insert and make it larger. My Mom had a special lace tablecloth that fit the whole table. And her Blue Willow ware... I inherited that and now it resides at my daughter's home. Ahhhhh... such memories.

    ReplyDelete
  25. Your story was so familiar to me, even though my history is different. We were a family of immigrant so we had no extended family to share the day with....the love though, was the same.

    ReplyDelete