Tuesday, December 18, 2007

A Hula Hoop & Memories

It started with that song. I don’t mean the new Hollywood CGI movie version, but the real song, the original: “The Chipmunk Song (Christmas Don't Be Late)”. It came out in time for Christmas 1958; my first Christmas. I liked it as a kid. But there are many more songs that I would classify as holiday favorites from my childhood. Because of the new film “Alvin and The Chipmunks” that song and all things Chipmunk are getting a lot of play here in the states. That led to my singing the line: “Me, I want a hula hoop” in that incredibly high pitched, potentially deeply annoying Alvin voice. Whenever I did, I felt transported back in time. I also felt simultaneously happy and sad. I don’t want a hula hoop. I don’t want to actually go back in time and be a little kid again. But I also don’t want the memories of all those childhood Christmastimes to fade. Yet after nearly five decades, bits and pieces must be falling away.

I can still see the green artificial Christmas tree. I can still feel the imitation branches and smell it as it emerged from storage every year. I remember the year we told my young nephew that he couldn’t open his presents until his great-grandparents Gagee and Gramps arrived. And when we all returned to the living room after ushering them in through the kitchen, J.R. had already begun tearing off the wrapping paper on his gifts! I can remember the annual banter between my Dad and his mother-in-law Gagee. He would hold the present which Gagee had carefully wrapped and placed a bow on top. It was a multi-sided tin of Yardley powder, which looked exactly like what it was. Dad wouldn’t even unwrap it. He’d just thank Gagee and they’d both laugh! I remember when we three kids would open a gift and rush over to thank our Mom and then our Dad. Dad would inevitably say: “You’re welcome. What’d I give you?” And he wouldn’t really be kidding, as Mom did nearly all the shopping. I remember Dad’s special gifts. Every year he would shop for one gift for my sisters Karen and Gail and me and one for our Mom. Mom would shop till she (and we) dropped. She would bake and cook and clean and wrap. Dad would buy us each one gift and in the instant that we opened them, it was as if the world stopped spinning ever so briefly. I remember that as I grew older, Mom would let me wrap many of the presents. She would even tape up the department store gift boxes and write my name on them so I could wrap and ribbon my own! I remember Mom’s cookies. But I am so lucky that it is no stretch for me to conjure up the tastes, textures and smells of the delicate butter spritz cookies, because nearly every year, my Mom still bakes them for us.

These little snippets from Christmas past run like a grainy, badly edited film in my head. I already treasure them. I want to preserve them. Thank you for indulging me. Thank you for helping me to do just that.


tonyaru said...

that was like a sweet christmas movie. thanks for sharing.

Pink Granite said...

Thank you Tonya!
- Lee