Memories Of Christmases Past

GRAPEVINE
By Rosalyn B. Queen Alonso

When I think of the many Christmases that I have spent, I can group them into eras. Now that is saying something about getting old. My memory goes back pretty far and I think the earliest recollections I have of Christmas would be when I was about five or six. Christmas’ then are not what they are now. We did not plan for months ahead and probably a couple of weeks prior to the big day we started to get ready. There was always a live tree and I remember so very vividly the glass ornaments that we hung on the tree…every year we seemed to break at least one. We topped the tree off with icicles that we tried to hang very straight and as we got tired, we just ended up tossing them and letting them fall where they would. Most of the gifts we gave our mother and father were things we had made at school and if we had a few cents we would buy some inexpensive item, which took us a long time to choose. We had our traditional meal on Christmas Day and we always had the fish dinner on Christmas Eve. As we got older we were allowed to attend midnight Mass. There were not a lot of presents under the tree, usually just one and I remember getting a doll one year and then I got a doll house another year. We never had a mantle in our house, so I do not remember if we hung socks, but I do know that what would have been put in them would have been fruit and candy.
My next memories would be after I married, had my own home and had my own children. Our first Christmas we had an aluminum tree, which you could not put electric lights on, but there was a revolving light that you placed on the bottom and it changed lights as it turned. By this time Christmas had evolved into a big holiday and we had many presents for the kids and a lot of goodies. I know we got too much for them but then we had to keep up with the “Jones.” One of the highlights of the season would be our trip to Downtown Clarksburg where we would stare at all the beautiful lights. One of our very favorites was the windows in the old Parson Souders store. John Pinion would decorate one window with characters and the other with a Nativity scene. There was always a little house with Santa where the kids could visit and tell the old fellow just want they wanted. Our Christmas Eve and Christmas dinner basically remained the same. I do not remember having a mall at that time so we did all our shopping in town.
Now we are at our present status and things have really changed. Although I love the season, there seems to be something missing…most of our shopping means putting cash in an envelope. I think the kids like this best as they can get just what they want and not what I think they want.
Goodies are not as special as they use to be, as we are able to get whatever we want all year long. I guess the best part about Christmas now is getting together to enjoy your family and that sometimes seems to be impossible as everyone has their own schedule. Wouldn’t it be nice if for just a couple of hours we could revert to that early Christmas celebration? Some day we will have to slow down and get back to the real meaning of this holiday. I know that many of us share with those less fortunate and try to see that everyone has a good holiday dinner … this says a lot for our society today. Put a little old time into your celebrations this year and see if it does not make a difference.
Hats off to the Barbara Highland Fund for the Arts and Harry Green Chevrolet for sponsoring the Christmas concert of TENORE! It was a wonderful concert and it certainly put everyone in the spirit of the season. The Cultural Foundation is doing such a great job in bringing these programs to us.
The PWA of Harrison County had a great Christmas luncheon for members and sponsors and unveiled a plaque to honor the late Abelina Suarez who recently left the PWA a bequest in her will.
Dave and I wish you a very Merry Christmas and that you enjoy it in good health. Keep in touch with me and until next week “Now You Have Heard It Through The Grapevine.”

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