Pass it along to the kids . . .
Time folds back upon itself at Christmas and we see ourselves as once we were. My sister Bernice (Mrs. Wayne Ursenbach), is again a four-year old, lying with her head under the Christmas tree with no lights except the magic ones above her. She says ‘it was pure enchantment then and when I’ve tried it again today, it’s still magic’.
One year Santa brought her a coloring book and dozens of colored crayons and she soon became absorbed in creating a multi-colored dog. Brad, then still to become my husband, carefully told her that dogs don’t come in those colors, and Bernice still feels the frustration of that time, because she says she knew dogs weren’t those colors, but was experimenting in trying to do so, and yet didn’t know how to tell Brad. Oh, the frustrations and problems of being a child.
Another memory of my little sister, is when Brad had Santa send her a telegram, and today, a life-time later, and without pausing a moment, she word for word, repeated to me:
“Tonight when you’re asleep, I’ll tell you what I’ll do.
“My sleigh I’ll stop and out I’ll pop.
“And leave some toys for you,” Signed, Santa.
My sister Fern (Mrs. Walter Scott) remembers one Christmas Eve when she and I were washing the dinner dishes, there were suddenly sleigh bells outside, and Fern says she thought it was Santa, and begged Mama to let her go to bed, but Mama insisted we finish our chore first and, what else?
The bells, no doubt were on a neighbor’s horses and Mama knew they were out Bobsleddling, but Fern again thought that Santa had passed by us, and silently worried and fretted until morning when she found that after all Santa, had come back.
Fern also recalled when we used real candles on the tree, and though Dad carefully clipped all the branches from around the candle flame, she was petrified until the flames were put out. Such was Christmas in the long ago..
Another sister, Amber (Mrs. Angus Bodine) remembers when those candles burned low, but leaving the wax still warm, Dad would take the wax and mold small animals from it. Amber remembers playing all day long with the little lambs he made for her.
She also remembers when Santa gave our brother, Spencer Ohlin (later of Richfield, Utah) a whistle and a drum. The house rang with the noise and it was only when Spencer cut a hole in the drum, to find out what made the noise, that any kind of peace once more arrived in the home. And Santa was far wiser in his choice of toys from then on, too. Such is the power of Christmas.
Spencer remembered one Christmas Eve when there was a great knocking at the door and Mama called, “Run to the bedroom and hide. Santa’s at the door.” Well, in a few years he knew it had been Grandpa Ohlin at the door, but he also remembers that was the year Santa brought him an Eskimo Sled which was large enough to be used until he was 15 or 16 years old.
He also recalls worrying how Santa could get down our small chimney . . . how Mama decorated the house with large folding strings of colored paper ropes . . . how we threaded buttered popcorn in long cords, to drape on the tree , , , and like all children of that era, the fascination yet fear of the live, flickering burning candles.
Such are the memories of Christmases that linger on when the children have become mature men and women.
When I was a child, my siblings and I still decorated at least one chair to keep alive Dad’s Swedish tradition and even today, I’ve been known to put a ribbon, bow or such, upon a chair, in silent memory of Dad. God love him.
And there are amusing ones too. Bernice as a child, for some reason loved to claim and play with Mom’s large, long wooden spoon. It was HER spoon and when mom needed it she had to find and wash it well. Well, one Christmas one of us bought Mom a nice big wooden spoon that would be HERS, . . . . and you know w hat happened. Yeah, Bernice claimed the new one and passed the old play yard one on to mom.
Oh, yes, we all experience a time warp at Christmas and no matter when or what kind of holidays they were, to us they were wonderful and are engraved forever on our minds, hearts, Soul, and fresh as if they happened just yesterday,
Dip into your memory book this year, and some night, perhaps as you all trim the Tree, tell those tales on to your own kids, and they will remember how ‘odd’ your celebrations were. Maybe to them????? But to you????? Treasures of your youth. Make them happy.