It was hard growing up. Not much money. Yet all year my parents would save some for Christmas. It hurt them to use the money to pay some bill they had to pay right now.
Even us kids would send what little money we had to buy presents for others.
Mother helping us wrap presents until late at night. Even now sometimes I’m up till late on Christmas eve wrapping present. The bows and paper. Some of that paper and bows were saved year after year to warp next years presents.
It’s lonely now with grand parents, and parents gone. Aunts and uncles too. Even several of my cousins. My brothers have moved out of state.
Much of what I have left is memories. Memories of my brother, a year younger than me, told on Christmas day to peel some potatoes for Christmas dinner. He almost peeled a 20 pound bag of them before mother started to wonder why he was so quiet.
My youngest brother, five years younger than me, getting up before dawn and opening all the presents. All of them. He was very young, but he knew what to do. Good thing mother like wrapping presents so it wasn’t a disaster.
Lincoln Log sets, Erector sets, so many days playing with them.
My father gave me a electric train set when I was one or two years old. He gave each of us a train set. Of all the presents my brothers still remember the train sets and we still have them.
Over the years I got radio and electronic teaching kits that led to a life as an engineer.
The red wagon I got before I was one year old. It was a super flyer.
The thought of my father paying $500.00 for a present for someone except the whole family makes me laugh. That sounds like merely like buying a cell phone or computer for a kid now. Back in those days a dime was worth more than a dollar is today.
We got bicycles and skates. Even skate boards although my father did not see the use of the things. It wasn’t till years later that they built a housing tract across the street that had side walks where we could skate. My feet were so big I could never could fit into the skates. Back then they were steel wheeled and hard to use. Even the skate boards had steel wheels. Try using one with steel wheels hot shot.
The big get togethers for Christmas dinner. Mother would make over a dozen pies. They would put picnic tables between houses for everyone to sit at. Grandmothers and grandpa. Aunts, uncles and cousins by the dozens.
Fruit salad, suspicious looking dishes of something brought by relatives. And the pies, especially pecan pie and the occasional coconut cream pie.
The Christmas trees. Grandpa’s tree that looked like a picture out of a magazine and you couldn’t touch it. Our tree, a bit haphazard, we all helped putting ornaments on, mother always moving ornaments around on it to make it look better.
The old blinking light. Each one blinked on its own schedule. The lights would interfere with the AM radio. Our town didn’t have an FM radio station back then. The lights would interfere with the TV at times. Those lights were purchased back in the 1950s. They don’t make light like that any more. Now the lights are synchronized to music and run by a computer.
All I have now is the train, a set of old lights that are fire hazard, a couple of glass ornaments, a couple of toys that survived the years and a radio demonstrator kit. Those few things and memories.
I have memories of working like mad till late in the night to build a special Christmas present. Couldn’t afford to buy a really nice one. One time me and a friend worked for a week until late at night every night to build a special bed for his father that would tilt so his father could get out of it on his own and stand.
I’ll make new memories. Last year I made hand made Christmas cards. I had an artist help me. They were so good I was asked where I purchased them.
Stay strong, write on. Professor Hyram Voltage