Friday, December 11, 2009

Christmas Memories--Part I


Since we are two weeks from Christmas, I thought I'd share some Christmas memories. Since I don't have any pictures of Christmas when I was a little girl, I can't include any pictures here. I still want to begin with these two Christmases.

First, Christmas 1963. My dad had died in May and at 12, I was old enough to know about Santa and I just wasn't sure what my mom was going to do. Keep in mind those were the days that Santa brought maybe two or three gifts, but two or three x 6 daughters was still a lot for my mom who worked as a waitress. Enter the Salvation Army (which is why I can NEVER pass a bell ringer without having a tear in my eye and put something in their little pot)--they brought food and we got to go to an event at our local movie theater where we got a stocking. That year I also found my mom's Christmas list and it totally ruined Christmas for me--I don't think I even shook a present after that--I had NO DESIRE to know what I was getting until after I opened it.

A year later, Christmas 1964, my mom was gone--she died December 3, a week after her 47th birthday. Me and 4 of my sisters had been living with my oldest sister Carol's boyfriend. (Carol was still in the hospital with tuberculosis) The house was crowded--12 of us in a 3 bedroom home. My biggest concern that year was for my sister, Linda, who was 9--what was she going to do when Santa didn't come. It was around that time that Helen and Les entered the picture. (Helen had worked with my mom and she and Les wanted to do something to help.) We spent much of Christmas with them that year. Their home was filled with such love. One of my favorite stories from that year was when we gathered around the piano to sing Christmas carols. Helen invited us to sing. I turned to Helen and said, "We don't sing." She said, "Oh, everyone sings." So we did. Then she said, "You're right, you don't sing."

My sisters and I will never forget the love and generosity that was shown to us by all those wonderful people. Gary's parents did the best they could and were so helpful to us while our mom was in the hospital, and then Helen and Les came along when we really needed them.

I will always cherish the memory of those two Christmases where I learned so much about giving.

Sidenote: I'm excited that my hubby will be home tonight after traveling all week.



17 comments:

The Garden of Egan said...

I loved your stories. They made me cry. I can't imagine the emotions you must feel at this time of year.

HUGS

ShEiLa said...

Everytime you talk about your Father and Mother both gone at such a young age I get so sad... then you tell the rest of the story and I am filled with hope and a thankful heart that there are such amazing people in the world.

ToOdLeS.

Macy said...

Thanks for sharing those stories. I don't usually pass the Salvation Army ringers, but I will make a point of seeking them out now.

mindyluwho said...

Sniff...where's my tissues when I need them. Such sad, but sweet memories all at once. I love those bell ringers at Christmas time, I always drop in something, but now it will mean even more.

Ambrosia said...

Powerful memories. Powerful stories. Heart break and healing. Thank you for sharing.

PJ said...

That was beautiful, thank you for sharing it:)

The Salvation bell ringing drives me nuts, but I do know it's goes to good things!

Neal said...

Great stories, Mom. I don't pass up the Salvation Army ringers either - but I forgot about your story. It's fun to teach G-Man to put coins in the pot..

Connie said...

I didn't realize you lost your parents while you and they were so young! Thanks for sharing.
How nice your hubby is home! Enjoy and have a wonderful weekend!

Tonya said...

Thank you for sharing those stories that are so near to your heart. It's a great reminder about what Christmas is all about.

sweetpea said...

This post made me cry. I love the way you tell them. I'm so glad you shared...I will be thinking of this when I see the Salvation Army bell ringers too.

Amber said...

Good gracious--I had NO IDEA. Even got weepy. Your memories were so beautifully orchestrated on your blog.

carolyne b said...

Aren't we lucky to have the Gospel in our life's and to know that those who have gone before us aren't gone from us forever. There are many who's life's we touch briefly and hopefully leave a big imprint on them. Clearly this is what Les and his wife did for you and your sisters. They will surely be rewarded in the Eternities.

Heffalump said...

Thanks for always making me think about how grateful I should be for the many blessings I have in my life!

Natalie said...

Your stories bring out many emotions; sadness, joy, hope.
How totaly wonderful that you were taken in by such loving, great people. You have been blessed and so have they and so they will be forever.
Thanks for sharing these bittersweet memories.

Tori said...

Oh, how touching Yvonne. This post gave me mixed emotions. Thanks for sharing... (((HUGS))

Valerie said...

I always try to leave something in a bell ringers little pot, but now I will do it thinking of the people (especially you) that will be helped. You put a face on the donation! Thanks for sharing!

Cherie said...

Wow Yvonne - that would have been tough losing your parents within a year of each other - You were young but it would be so hard at any age. My heart just went out to you and your siblings as I was reading.
I love the singing story.

I am glad you had good people in your life to help you through!