Thursday, December 24, 2009

Christmas Memories: My Last Childhood Christmas

1969 - my last Christmas living in my parent's home. This seems like a good ending to my series of Christmas memories. And what a memory Christmas 1969 was! I was almost 18, a senior in high school. After months of begging, pleading, cajoling, I got my biggest wish - I was going to fly to California to spend Christmas with my sister Evie and her family. This was a very big deal. I had never been on an airplane. I had never been to California. I had never taken a trip by myself. But I was full of confidence and had no fear of the unknown. My world was about to expand exponentially. Some of my favorite memories of this trip:
  • Changing planes in Minneapolis, having to go to the bathroom and discovering you had to pay. (I did not pay because I caught the door when someone else was leaving.)
  • Seeing Evie and Bill at the airport in Los Angeles as I came off the Jetway.
  • Little Annette and Billy; they were so adorable and loving to their Aunt Audrey
  • Palm trees
  • Warm weather
  • Spaghetti on Christmas Eve
  • Opening gifts on Christmas morning (can you believe it??)
  • Disneyland
  • Subs and Suds (never heard of it before)
  • Montovani music
  • Cheetos
  • Cute guys
  • Long talks with Evie
  • Traffic, traffic, traffic
  • Pacific ocean
  • Christmas dinner in the garage ... with doors open ... in December
What a long way life had brought me. I went from cozy, familiar and safe Christmases to a whole new and different world; strange environment, different customs and traditions, strangers. Over the years since leaving home, Christmas has been so many different scenarios. As good or not-so-good as any of them were, every December 24 my mind and heart takes a short trip back to the little living room overflowing with presents under the tree, the tables laden with food, and my large family gathered together. And I thank God for how blessed I was in my formative years. Come on, ring those bells! Light the Christmas tree! Jesus is the King....born for you and me. Come on, ring those bells! Everybody say, "Jesus, we remember this, your birthday."

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