Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Advent Calendar of Christmas Memories - The Tree

My Mom, Aunt Cathy, and Mary Lucille Gilson (at Mary's house)
It's that time of year again, and even though last year was my first year participating in the Advent Calendar of Christmas Memories (and blogging), I really had fun.  Rather than repeat my posts from last year, I'm going to be asking family members to share with me their memories.  I haven't decided yet if I will stick with one family member this year and save the other stories for next year, but I figured it was a good way to mix it up and to gather all those great memories that we want remembered forever!

The following are my mom's memories of the Christmas Tree (and Christmas in general) when she was growing up, edited just a bit so you may understand some of the people and places that were referred to...

When Eddie and I were young my mom and dad would send us next door to Aunt Mary Quirk's house and we'd have dinner with Aunt Mary, Aunt Kay and, when I was very young, grandpa Quirk.  At our bedtime mom came over and took us back to the house, but everything was dark in the living room because Santa Claus was coming that night.

It was so hard going to sleep.  I remember lying awake and hearing noises in the living room but knew I couldn't see what it was.

My father would set up the entire two train set - a big green one (I don't remember the brand) and a little black one (a Lionel).  I guess my mom was in charge of the tree.  It was always a real one with big bulb lights and bubble lights.  I remember always flicking the bubble lights that didn't bubble.  I think the bubble lights on the tree are the reason I still like them so much.  My dad helped grandpa Brown.  When we came down in the morning Santa had been there and it was magic knowing he had done everything while we slept.  He even came into our rooms and put our filled stockings on our beds.

My Grandpa Brown died when I was in 6th grade and it must have been the first Christmas after his death (Cathy was still little) that my mom told us that Santa needed our help that year so we were going to set up the platform, trains and tree and Santa would finish it.  A couple of years later we helped even more by decorating the tree.  I think I believed in Santa until I was in Grebey Junior High School.

Wonderful memories.  Of course, we had to go to the children's mass at St. Gabriel's on Christmas morning.  By that time we had gone through all of our presents at home.  When we came back it was on to the aunts' house (Mary and Kay) next door and got more presents.   By the afternoon we ended up at Aunt Marian and Grandpa Brown's house which was right behind ours.  My mom made the best turkey and pumpkin pie and when it was all finished, Ed and I would go to the Gramley's house to see what Malcom and Tommy got for Christmas.  Nobody in the neighborhood was well off but everyone's father except one had a job.  It was good times.

When we got older and my mom turned the garage into a TV room, we started putting the tree up there.  I think my parents loved Christmas as much as we did.  When we were older my dad would give us money and we'd go to Fellins jewelry or Deisroth's to buy presents for my mom.

I'm sure Ed and Cathy did what I did in trying to duplicate that sense of joy and Santa.  I remember staying up to 4:00 a.m. with your father on Christmas Eve putting together that Barbie three (or was it four) level house.  Good times and very good memories.

Next week I'll feel like a kid again as we bring up the Christmas tree from the crawl space and bring out all the old decorations and bubble lights and put baby's breath on the branches.

Thanks mom for sharing these memories!