REMEMBERING CHRISTMAS IN THE '50s
I celebrated my first Christmas in 1948 ~ I was not quite three months old. I suspect I was more concerned about having a full tummy and dry bottom than what was inside the wrapped boxes under the tree.
The following years, Christmas became all about Santa Claus, elves, reindeer, drinking hot chocolate with a marshmallow floating on top, and festively wrapped presents with tags proclaiming “Merry Christmas!" or "Joy to the World!"
Nothing was more enchanting than the sight of a brightly lit real live tree standing tall in the living room, its branches drooping from the weight of too many ornaments and thousands of long strands of sparkling silver tinsel icicles.
A favorite activity was sitting beneath the tree, savoring the heady, spicy aroma of the freshly cut fir, while dreaming about the treasures lurking inside the colorful packages piled around its trunk.
Without exception, before dawn on Christmas morning, my brother, Robert, only two years my senior, would charge into my room yelling, “Dippy! Dippy! Santa Claus came! Santa Claus came!”
Many of my fondest memories go back to when I was a Girl Scout. At the end of every meeting, we stood in a circle, held hands and sang: “Make new friends, but keep the old; one is silver and the other gold.”
Looking at those faded, ancient pictures of my siblings and me tearing into Christmas presents while my mother looks on, obviously exhausted, and my father asleep on the couch, are as familiar and comforting as sliding into a warm pair of old, well worn bedroom slippers.
Sometimes I think about that Girl Scout song from long ago, and in my head, rewrite the lyrics: “Make new memories, but keep the old; one is silver and the other gold.”
All the photos are of my brothers and me. My wooden horse was named Bogart. I don't remember the name of the dog.