Thursday, December 14, 2006

Remembering Christmases Past - Part 1

They say that your life is in four parts – in the first part YOU BELIEVE in Santa Claus, in the second part YOU DON’T BELIEVE in Santa Claus, in the third part YOU ARE Santa Claus, and in the last part YOU LOOK LIKE Santa Claus. I have enjoyed each part – at least so far!

Christmas is usually the very best of times. It has been for me.

Like most children, I looked forward to Christmas time mainly for the presents from my family. The family dinners, songfests and trips to relatives were to be endured, with the reward being Christmas morning. However, it is the visits that are remembered and cherished most, although some special gifts are fondly recalled.

We lived on the second story of a two-story house at 2119 30th Street in San Diego from the time I was 4 until I left home in 1968 at age 25. The house did not have a fireplace, so my brother Stan and I could never figure out how Santa Claus could bring the presents under the tree.

My maternal grandparents, Lyle and Emily Carringer (“Gram and Gramps”), built a beautiful home on Point Loma in 1951, and Christmas Eves were spent there for many years – and it had a fireplace! Our stockings were hung there in hopes that Saint Nick would fill them to the brim. Before bedtime, my grandmother would lead us in Christmas carols while we lay in bed – it was a wonderful way to fall asleep. In the morning, the presents were there by the fireplace, and we relished unwrapping all of them before my grandparents were awake.

Santa was always good to us, probably because, in retrospect, we were usually good boys – mischievous but not criminal, loud but not abusive, whirlwinds but not destructive. We usually received toys that were all the rage of the day, plus the usual boring clothes, and fruit, candy and small toys in our stockings. The most memorable gifts were the "good" toys, of course. BB guns and Davy Crockett coonskin caps in 1954, Flexible Flyers (sleds on wheels) in 1955, bicycles in 1956.

Of course, Santa Claus isn’t mysterious forever. The Point Loma house had a two car garage that my grandfather had filled with generations of stuff – it was a wonderful place to hide, explore and search. We found the bicycles that year, but didn’t tell anybody else. Sure enough, on Christmas morning they appeared by the fireplace and Christmas tree marked “from Santa Claus.” Aha! So, we knew, but being rather smart we didn’t tell the folks – why kill the golden goose? I don’t recall when we stopped staying over at Gram and Gramps on Christmas Eve – it was probably in the early 60’s when Scott was a young child.

1 comment:

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