Growing up in a small town in Southern New Jersey

Thursday, January 2, 2014

Memories of Christmases long, long ago

Years ago there was a beautiful young woman.  She was engaged to a handsome young man.  He was 29 years old.  They got married in 1937 and had their first child in 1943.  The beautiful woman was my mother (Rose), the handsome dude was my dad (Carl) and the child was me (Judi).

A few years later when I was four the Christmas month of December was full of events, gaiety, love, excitement, and food.  I mention this because it's the first Christmas I have any memory of.  I think that's because my friend Linda Wallace and I both wanted the same doll for Christmas.  I don't remember what Linda got, but I know I got a really nice doll, which I still have, and it is dressed in a dress that was mine 70 years ago, and a sweater/hat/booties set that was mine back when I was a SMALL baby.  I emphasize the word SMALL because that size for me went away after my third child was born. 

So in 1947, there was me, my sister Debbie, and my brother Mark.  My brother Carl was born in 1949.

Mom seemed to be very happy with four children cramped into two small bedrooms.  The baby and crib were in her and dad's bedroom, and Deb and I were in a double bed in the back bedroom, the only room in the house with a very, very small closet, and Mark was put onto a bunk size trundle bed in the corner of the room.  No privacy there for any of us.

No matter our lot, Mom always made Christmas nice for all of us.  I remember her making a fun job out of curling ribbon for 100 boxes of chocolate which were handed out at the Christmas program one year.  She made the chore of sewing 20 aprons on her old Singer sewing machine a fun job and it was a "grown-up" job, because the material had to be cut just so and she let me do the cutting.  I was around nine years old when I was blessed with that job.  I could go on.  I'm sure my sister and brothers could add to the list.

Mom always seemed to take things in stride, calmly, while Dad was the one who panicked if one of his children had a dirty diaper, or threw up.  Poor Daddy.  Mom got the praise and dad got the disapproval for his actions.

Mom to me was the prettiest mother (other than Mrs. Lott) in my classroom -- my other peers' moms couldn't compete at all with her looks.  Mrs. Lott being the exception.  Imagine that.  Two pastor's wives being the prettiest moms.

I was always proud that my mom was my mom.  And Christmas came too soon after school started.  We had a lot to do to get ready for it.


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