This past year Beverly at How Sweet the Sound hosted a Circle Journal that 10 of us participated in. We each chose a theme for our book which then traveled all over the country for 10 months. Beverly’s theme was Christmas Past and we each created two pages in her book of our own Christmas memories. I’ll have to show you my completed book another day. I saved the pages I did last summer in her book to share at Christmastime. That shushing Santa is actually an envelope and I wrote down my memories and tucked them in there. At this time of year I still get homesick for the McAllen of the ‘50s.
So this is what I wrote…..
Traveling far back into Christmas Past I thought about my favorite parts of the holidays. We didn't have stockings and we had our "tree" on Christmas Eve. No, the excitement for me was the town
itself- especially Main St. When the giant evergreen swags were strung up from building to building spanning the street that signaled Christmas was coming. My sister and I played our 45 record of Gene Autry's "Rudolf" endlessly. We had a cardboard nativity set that we put up every year and I always got the honor of putting it together. The most I remember about our tree was putting on those heavy, heavy icicles. Sears moved out on the Highway in a new building and a whole section devoted to kids would appear - Toyland. And that's where you'd go to see Santa who was located near the Candy counter. At school we'd have our classroom party and everyone must have shopped at the same place because I think we all got those "books" of Lifesavers! And the Methodist church always had a live nativity with real donkeys, cows and people. It was amazing. On Christmas Eve - the longest day of the year - as soon as it turned dark we'd pile in the Plymouth to go look at lights. Amazingly Santa would come while we were gone. My dad always forgot his cigarettes on Christmas Eve and would have to go back in the house to get them. It was awful - his memory seemed okay the rest of the year and you’d think he would have been more careful because what if Santa came and we were still there? He'd just pass us by I was certain. All was well when we got back home, however. My sis and I got matching dolls. I remember a red scooter and a little rocking chair at one time or another.
My favorite memories, however, were the years my dad worked at the Palace Theater. The last show wouldn't let out until after 11 p.m. and if we were good...my mother would let us go with her to pick him up. We'd go early and drive by the fire station. Holy Cow! The reindeer on the mezzanine rocked back and forth, back and forth while real bells jingled. Honestly, you could stare at them for hours! Then we'd park on Main St and window shop. I could run a whole block ahead and I had all of Main St to myself. Every store front was decorated with trees and gifts and velvet mechanical Santas that would slowly turn and wave. The wonders of technology right in front of me. It was like my own private street and I owned all the stores and everything in them! Sometimes we'd pick our favorite item in every single window display - that was a fascinating game until my sister and I wanted the same thing and we'd argue over who had imaginary ownership. And then I'd look up and my Dad, leaning out his projectionist window high above the marquee, would wave at us. Time to go.
"Christmas Eve was a night of song that wrapped itself about you like a shawl. But it warmed more than your body. It warmed your heart... filled it, too, with a melody that would last forever." --
Bess Streeter Aldrich
I’m joining Beverly for Pink Saturday today.