Growing up in a small town in Southern New Jersey

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Christmas 1960

I was certain that Christmas, this particular year (1960) was going to be a real bummer. We didn't use words like bummer back then, we would have said "pukey". But I was sure it was going to be a dismal Christmas. The love of my life, Alan, was off in Kenya, 8,000 miles and eight time zones away.

I had a horrible time getting a gift to him that year. I think I sent it via his Aunt Virginia. It was a scrapbook and I had started it for him with a few pictures. We have a picture of him looking at that scrapbook, and that picture even appear in his senior yearbook at Rift Valley Academy. Once again, I digress.

Alan had left me in August. I didn't date. Well, I did once, but the guy that took me out told me he knew I was pining away for Alan and he wanted me to be able to go to some sort of area church teen banquet with a date. A sympathy date, you might say. We had a decent time, but I was still "pining" as he put it.

I guess I should address the picture I posted. This is the first picture I received of Alan after he went back to Kenya. Shortly after the family arrived in Kenya this picture was taken, or maybe it was taken just before they left for Kenya, but the picture didn't get developed until they were in Kenya, I'm not certain, all I know is that at Christmas time in 1960 this picture was sent on a prayer card for the Hahn family to all their missionary supporters. I looked at Alan and I thought how much he had changed from the boy that had left in August. I mean physically changed. He seemed to have grown some and he had lost a lot of weight. That's him on the right.

I had also decided that year that I was going to open my gifts on Christmas Eve at midnight. I figured Alan would be opening his presents at 8 a.m. his time, which was midnight my time. Well, I was wrong. I found out a few weeks later when I got a letter from Alan that they always opened their gifts on Christmas Eve (around midnight), which was 4 p.m. our time. So, I guess the joke was on me.

I also recall that there was a full moon or close to it on that particular Christmas Eve, and while I knew that Alan couldn't possibly be looking at the same moon I was, since it was morning in Kenya, I felt like maybe he was.

The saddest part about that Christmas, in retrospect, is that Alan did get a gift to me via his Aunt Virginia, but I can't recall what it was. Now that's a real bummer!


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