Growing up in a small town in Southern New Jersey

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

After Thanksgiving

Well, Thanksgiving is over. Bummer. I really do love that holiday. This year wasn't so pleasant, but I'm grateful that Alan was able to be home from the hospital. His first day home, he wasn't feeling very well, and so I stayed home with him, rather than visiting my son and his family as planned. We had wonderful tuna-fish sandwiches. I had bought a good loaf of French bread the day before, and it was just the right hardness. So the tuna sandwiches really were very good. My son and my daughter both brought us turkey and fixings the next day, so we did have turkey to enjoy. Alan told me he didn't care about having turkey because that's about all he had in the hospital -- that's true. Every time I filled out his menu it was either turkey or fish, and fish wasn't an option for him.

Now, with Thanksgiving over, it's time for the rat-race to begin.

I remember this time of year so vividly. We had so little money, and each year before I was able to earn money, I was given $2 to buy 4 or 5 presents (depending on the year, as my youngest brother wasn't around in my early years). So, I would journey up and down the pike, in and out of the few stores which I've mentioned and mentioned and mentioned, but once again -- Pitt's Drug Store, Jake's 5&10, and Joe's Ice Cream Shop -- they were the three stores that had things that cost less than $2. Mostly I went to Jake's.

I remember each year for at least five years I gave my dad a monogrammed handkerchief and my mother a flowered handkerchief. My sister probably got pencils or crayons, and my brother(s) most likely received a small match-box like toy or some plastic soldiers. I had to sneak the gifts into the house, and then wrap them myself.

I still don't wrap a pretty present. You know those self-making bows? Well, when I make them they look like a three-year old threw up a ball of ribbon. Not good at that. The corners of any paper-wrapped package are always loose.

Dad was a perfectionist when it came to wrapping gifts, and he had those corners so tight, and he only needed a small piece of scotch tape to hold it together. I, on the other hand need half a roll to wrap one present!

Imagine me sitting on the floor of my mom's closet (which wasn't more than 2 feet by 3 feet) wrapping gifts and not allowing anyone to see what I was doing. That's how it was done. But, I think I mentioned that I loved that closet. It's where I played house, built houses out of Lincoln Logs and the precurser to Legos (wooden bricks). I colored in that closet. I probably even slept in there, although I don't really remember sleeping in there.

One thing I do remember...Mom and Dad always made me feel good that I had given them ANOTHER hankie, like it was the best gift anyone had every given them. Maybe that's why I gave them those hankies year after year after year.

By the way, I still have most of those hankies I gave my mom -- UNUSED!

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