Wednesday, December 22, 2010

A Christmas Memory From My Childhood

   My family moved from Des Moines, Iowa to Covington, Oklahoma in 1946. We only lived there for two years. I'll never forget our first Christmas there. My daddy traveled all over the United States and Canada as an evangelist so Mother and the four of us, children, could hardly wait for him to come home for Christmas. Maybe he could stay home a little longer this time. 
   Richard-12, Lorraine-10, Billy-4 and I-8 had been pouring over the Sears catalog for weeks. We knew Mother and Dad didn't have a lot of money to spend. A baby doll for me was out of the question. 
   In the catalog I found a scooter that looked like so much fun! I could almost feel myself riding down the sidewalk! This scooter was red and white and even had a brake! Oh, I wanted that scooter.
   Well, Daddy came home. Christmas day arrived. I didn't see a scooter under the tree. But there were two long boxes, along with other presents! A beautiful doll was in each box, for Lorraine and me! Lorraine named her's Nancy. I named mine Claudia.
   Aunt Lou, Mother's sister, had bought the dolls for us and even made several outfits, so we could change their clothes, and mailed them in time for Christmas! 
   Aunt Lou had a daughter, Judy, a year younger than me. Judy and I loved to play together when we were in Iowa.
   Judy didn't like dolls though. She loved horses! Aunt Lou, knowing my parents didn't have a lot of money, and having only one child herself, bought these dolls for us! She knew we would love them...and we did!
   Billy, age four, had received a little boy's three wheeled scooter. He was happy! 
   I didn't see a scooter for me but I was so happy with my new doll!
   We finished unwrapping all our presents and then Daddy suddenly said, "Anita, look behind the davenport." I went over and couldn't believe my eyes! There was a red and white scooter! Oh!!! Just what I wanted!
   Well, I don't like to tell on my little brother, but...when he saw my scooter... Oh dear, he threw his down and said, "Bad scooter."
   I don't remember if I let him ride mine, but I'm sure I must have...
   Oh...what wonderful Christmas memories...

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Christmas Memories #4

       Pam was married, Ted was in college and working during vacations. The other three children were still at home. 
   Ted was working at a home for troubled boys. One day shortly before Christmas he called to tell me he had to work on Christmas day!
    My reaction was one of disbelief! "No, Ted, you have to come home! It's Christmas...we can't have Christmas without you! 
   "Mom, I'm sorry, I want to come home, but my boss said I have to work."
   Well, you just tell your boss you can't, your mom wants you home!" I insisted.
   "Mom, this is a home for boys in trouble, someone has to be here. I'm just part time, so I'm the one to stay with them over Christmas." 
   Oh, I felt so bad. I felt bad for the boys who couldn't go home; bad for Ted, because he couldn't come home; and bad for me, because I wanted my family together. It was hard enough without Pam here and now Ted? 
   Well, Christmas day arrived. Grandma had stayed all night with us so we didn't worry about her driving out early in the morning.
   Tim, Christy, and Rob got up at 6:00 to sing to us. That was a wonderful tradition.
   Suddenly we saw headlights coming up the driveway! Who...Grandma is downstairs! Who is here? We ran downstairs and turned on the lights. 
   Ted came walking in with, a big smile on his face, his arms loaded with gifts! 
   "Ted, oh Ted, I'm so glad you're here! How come? I thought you couldn't come?"
   Then he explained, "My boss came in last night and told me to go on home in the morning. He'd stay with the boys!"
   Knowing our tradition of the kids singing to us early Christmas morning, Ted had gotten up around 3:00 AM in order to be home by 6:00 AM!
   Such a wonderful morning...such a wonderful Christmas...such a wonderful memory. 

Friday, December 10, 2010

Christmas Memories #3

     One by one the kids were growing up and leaving home. Pam, our oldest, was married in 1983 and living in another state. Christmas morning wasn't quite the same any more but the kids, still at home, got up at 6:00 AM to sing to us to wake us up! It was tradition.
     Six o'clock on December 25, 1984, things went a little crazy! The kids were singing, Grandma was waiting for the door to be unlocked, and the phone started ringing! 
     Jerry got up as I reached over to answer the phone. "Merry Christmas," I said groggily. Pam began singing "We wish you a merry Christmas!" 
     Then she said she had a special message to tell us. "Gene and I are going to have a baby!" 
     "What?" Yes, she had to tell me twice!
     Our first grandchild! What a wonderful, exciting gift! The following August our first grandson, Andrew, was born. 
     That's a Christmas memory forever in my heart. 

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Christmas Memories #2

     Christmas is the season for memories...among my favorites is Grandma coming every Christmas morning in time for the gift opening. 
     She was an early riser every morning so for her to be at our house by 6:00 AM was no problem. In fact some years she was there before we were up! When the kids woke us up at 6:00 with their singing, we'd find her sitting in her car in the driveway waiting for lights to be turned on and the door unlocked! 
     Yes, that was Grandma. We all loved her and were thrilled that she wanted to come for the opening of our gifts. Before we opened any presents Jerry would read the Christmas story from the Bible. 
     We always made sure we had gifts for Grandma to open, too. She'd be so surprised when a gift was handed to her. 
     After breakfast she would drive to Betty's house (daughter) for Christmas dinner.
     The last few years of her life Jerry drove into town to get her. One or two years Jerry picked her up on Christmas Eve and she stayed all night with us so morning would be a little easier.
     Then the very last year, she was in a nursing home. Opening gifts just wasn't the same without Grandma. But we all have the most wonderful memories of her being with us on the best day of the year: Christmas!
     Grandma's birthday was also on December 25! 
We had a double celebration. A lot of years the family got together with her, earlier in the month, to celebrate her birthday.
     But I wanted to have a party for her right on the day! So one year I invited everyone to our house on Christmas afternoon for a birthday party for Grandma. 
     Our next door neighbor had a Santa Claus suit so I asked him if he'd help me out at our family birthday party for Grandma. Of course, he'd love to!
     I did some extra shopping that year and bought a Christmas present for each of our nieces and nephews and our own kids, under teenage. I wrapped each one and delivered them to our neighbor. He put them into a big bag to be delivered by Santa at the party! 
     Everyone arrived and it was a house full, but we had lots of food. Things were kind of winding down, when the door bell rang! I went to answer it and there stood Santa Claus with his big bag of gifts! 
     What a surprise to everyone!!! He read off the name of each child as he handed out the presents! No child was left out. Such excitement! 
     The last gift was for Grandma...a kiss from Santa Claus!

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Christmas Memories

     One of my favorite Christmas memories is of our children getting up at 6:00 AM and singing to Jerry and me, "We Wish You A Merry Christmas." They thought they were waking us up...but if you can, imagine five excited kids out in the hallway, trying to be quiet! We were awakened by the noise of whisperings, "Shhhh, be quiet. Don't be so noisy, Shhhh! You're going to wake them up!" Then suddenly, they would burst out, altogether, with "We Wish You a Merry Christmas, we wish you a merry Christmas, we wish you a merry Christmas, and a happy new year!" Jerry and I would pretend to have been sound asleep and being awakened by their beautiful song!
     One year, Teddy, our oldest son, just couldn't wait for the other four kids. I don't remember if he tried waking them up... But, Jerry and I were awakened by one voice singing at the top of his lungs, "We wish you a merry Christmas...!" We woke up and looked at the was about 3:00 AM! I went into the hallway and convinced Teddy that it was still in the night, everyone was still sleeping, and he needed to go back to bed and wait for 6:00 o'clock and the rest of the kids! 
      6:00 AM came a little sooner that year! But what wonderful memories of Christmas. The most blessed time of the year.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

"I Walked Today Where Jesus Walked"

     About twelve years ago Jerry and I went on an incredible trip to Israel! We had talked about going for years and finally it became reality. Now doing my Christmas decorating has made me recall this trip and wonder, again, at the special feelings we experienced while there.
     I loved seeing shepherds watching their sheep on the hillsides, just like in Bible times. 
     While in Bethlehem we bought a Nativity set made of Olive Wood. It's very special to me.
     But the little town of Bethlehem, itself, was more of a disappointment. You see, the population has grown there, just like here. It's now like a suburb of Jerusalem! 
    There are lots of stories I can write about our time there but there was one day...I'll never forget Jerry...
     We were in Cana, where Jesus performed His first miracle at the wedding. You know the story. But that story really has nothing to do with this story! 
     Jerry and I were walking down a street and marveling that this is actually where Jesus had mingled with the people. 
     Suddenly...Jerry began singing, "I Walked Today Where Jesus Walked." For others this wouldn't have been much, after all, probably lots of folks have sung this song walking through the streets, but for was beautiful. So spontaneous, so beautiful, so special. This was just for Jerry and me. I still get a tingle when I think of it. No, I need to make a was just for the Lord and Jerry and me.