As we draw closer to Christmas day, I find a flood of memories filling my mind. Some are good memories, some are funny, some are sad. But such are the ingredients of life. Capturing these memories felt important, necessary, desired. As I sat down to write them out, I decided some were worthy of the blog where I share my life stories.
Not too long ago I posted on memory triggers. In the last few days, a high school classmate posted an image on our graduating class’s Facebook page. (Image: Nativity Scene at Centennial Park in Nashville, TN (1954-1967) via Nashville Archives)
That image triggered a rush of memories.
Suddenly I could feel the biting cold of the night air as we stood under the stars and gazed upon the largest nativity I had ever seen. Every year we piled in the car, bundled from head to toe, to join with hundreds, maybe thousands, of other citizens in and around Nashville to view the Nativity donated by a local businessman.
And then it was a quick drive home to warm up and crawl into bed but not until Dad had read the nativity passage from the Bible. Mom, Dad, and I — and years later my younger brother — gathered on the living room sofa with the lights twinkling on the tree and our now somewhat very small nativity lit on top of the radio/phonograph console.
Memories by now were marching on and I’m thinking back to one Christmas night when I was about seven, almost eight. As all children experience, I went to bed when told but could not sleep. Waiting and listening for any sound that evidenced the arrival of Old St. Nick.
There it was. Sounds of activity in the living room. Voices even. Could it be?
Only one way to find out. I quietly climbed from my bed, opened my door, and peeked into the hall. Someone was in the living room!
Tiptoeing as quietly as possible I made my way down the hall. He was in the living room. Putting together a blue bicycle! Oh, how I had dreamed of this moment. My very own blue bicycle. And Santa, right there before my eyes!
Strange — Santa wasn’t wearing the familiar red suit. Instead he was wearing jockey shorts and the standard male undershirt of the day. A toolbox sat by his side and an instruction sheet laid out to follow along. Didn’t his elves put everything together for Santa to deliver?
And there was Mom, her hair in curlers and her in her robe in the middle of the night. What was she doing up with Santa in his underwear?
This was definitely not what I expected. I gasped and gulped back my tears.
Santa was evidently my mom and dad. All this time I believed in a man in a red suit with a snow-white beard who drove a sleigh pulled by reindeer and delivered toys all over the world. The truth sat in my living room, right before my eyes!
Mom and Dad looked up at my gasp, and they knew then that the secret of Santa was no more. Their little girl discovered the truth on this very night called Christmas Eve.
I sat in Mom’s lap while Dad finished putting the bike together. He sat me on it and promised the next morning he would take me out to go for a spin.
Santa or no Santa, I gave Dad a big smile!
* * *
These are only a couple of my Christmas memories that came back to me this last week. Have you experienced any cherished memories in the past few days or weeks? Perhaps you’ll share them in the comments below.
* * *
Healing by Writing will be quiet until the first of the year. It’s a time to be spent with family and cherishing the new memories being made. I hope you’ll be doing the same.
- Sharing My Top 10 Childhood Christmas Memories (darsba.wordpress.com)
- Old Christmas Memories (nicolesloansbooks.wordpress.com)
- Christmas memories (maryluceaiello.wordpress.com)
Sherrey, it’s amazing how Christmas time triggers so many memories–both happy and sad. You’ve captured the bittersweet ones here with the realization that Santa as you knew him was not who you thought he was. We have grandsons hovering around that reality and it makes me feel sad, too! “Yes, Virginia, there is a Santa Claus” and may we never lose sight of the magic of the season. Christmas Blessings to you and yours,Kathy
Kathy, this was such a fun post to write. It was rather spur of the moment in fact. I sat down to the computer and Elgar’s Nimrod came on the radio. Nimrod was introduced to me by Bob’s recently deceased brother, Jim, my grand encourager in all things writing. For some reason, the idea blossomed and my fingers couldn’t fly fast enough. I think we can safely call that “the muse was in.” And yes, it was a bittersweet time not only for me but for my parents as well until that younger brother came along and the three of us would play Santa together. Merry Christmas to you, Wayne and the rest of your family.
Have a wonderful holiday Sherry
And, Sue, I’m wishing you a happy holiday as well.
Sweet story of coming of age: illusion & disillusion. As a little Mennonite girl, ideas about Santa, Christmas trees, and all of the glitz seemed in a world far removed from my own reality.
I’ll be doing a few more posts before Christmas, and then I’ll be joining you in the “quiet” time.
Hello, Marian, and thank you for your comment. I’ve often wondered about growing up in a culture within the materialistic traditions of Christmas and wondering what it was all about. You and Shirley have opened my eyes to so many things.
I’ll look forward to your joining me in the “quiet” time.
Sherrey, even though I was not brought up with the idea of a “real” Santa, I enjoyed learning as much as possible about other people’s Santas. On my own blog this week I link to Linda Gartz’s story about Santa that I’m sure you will enjoy also. She kept the magic a little longer due to an elaborate hoax. I too will take a break and wish you and all your readers a very merry Christmas! http://www.shirleyshowalter.com/2013/12/17/sharing-nostalgia-for-childhood-at-christmas-time-with-linda-gartz/
Shirley, thanks for stopping by during this busy season. I’m looking forward to reading Linda’s story and finding out what her “elaborate hoax” was.
Sending you and yours a wish for a Merry Christmas and happy 2014!
Sherrey – I loved reading this. I have so many memories of Christmas. One year, Santa came early because Mom and I were spending Christmas in Alabama with her parents. I shared earlier this week on my blog about my very first Christmas memory – a “great big shiny aluminum Christmas tree.”
Blessings to you!
Joan — you encourage me with your words “I loved reading this.” I think Christmas memories are somehow sometimes the best. So much suspense, anticipation, surprise. Can’t wait to read your post about your very first Christmas memory. I’ve been negligent on my reading lately and have you on my list of places to catch up soon!
A very Merry Christmas and a wonderful 2014 to you!
Lovely post Sherrey thank you!I well remember my sons as children, writing down what they hoped Santa would bring them. We’d put out carrots, milk and cookies for the reindeer and a beer for Santa. And of course, if you didn’t believe in Santa or fairy stories, or the tooth fairy, they didn’t deliver.
Now my sons are adult. I remember my younger saying to me a few years back that it wasn’t nice/cool/great to find out that was no truth in these stories…he really really believed them ..
May you and family have a blessed Christmas and a wonderful 2014.
Hello, Susan! So good to hear from you. Oh, I remember the “if” clause in believing in Santa Claus, both as a child and then as a mom. Enjoyed your younger’s comment about finding out the truth of these various individuals. Sending wishes for a blessed Christmas to you as well and hope for you a 2014 filled with joy, laughter and love.
One of my favorite childhood memories is of watching Oliva Newton John’s amazing movie, A Mom for Christmas. That and my Gramma’s cookie-maker tins. Thanks for sharing your memories!
Allison, my apologies on not replying to your comment sooner! My husband and I have both been struggling with health issues since Christmas Day. Thank you for stopping by. I don’t remember seeing A Mom for Christmas, so I’ll have to check it out, but cookie-maker tins I can relate to!
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