A White Speedskate Christmas
I don’t remember exactly how old I was, probably 13, but this took place during WWll as my oldest brother was a pilot in the RCAF and no longer lived at home. My family was dirt-poor. We lived in a very old ramshackle farm house about four miles from the nearest town. We had no running water, electricity or natural gas. We were never hungry as most of our food was home-grown.
We always celebrated Christmas with a real tree, no lights, but plenty of tinsel. Everyone got a present and we had a traditional Christmas dinner with all the trimmings, even Christmas crackers (a real treat). My gift that special year was my first pair of skates, WHITE SPEED SKATES. Wow! I thought I must be the luckiest kid on earth.
The following summer the war was over and a former RCAF pilot came to our small town with a little airplane, I think it was a Piper Cub, and was offering rides for two dollars. I didn’t have the $2.00 but my little sister did, so I sold my treasured skates to her and took my very first plane ride.
Christmas has always been the best day ever! As a child, I couldn’t wait. As an adult, I’m doing better!
I must have been 6 or 7 and Wetums’ dolls were on every little girls Christmas list. My parents were always very tolerant of my early morning risings on Christmas Day. Dad always went down ahead of Mom and I to light the tree and there she was lying in a cradle on the hearth covered in a blue flowered quilt. She was dressed in a pink knitted bonnet, sweater, soakers and booties. I learned in later years that Mom had never knit a stitch in her life until that Christmas. She fessed up many years later and this alone made this Christmas one of my most memorable ones.
Mumps for Christmas!
My childhood Christmases were very happy times. My mom was a very good cook, so there was always turkey, mashed potatoes, and gravy. The biggest Christmas treats were the mandarin oranges and “hard tack” candies. Being one of six kids we soon learned that the faster you ate the more you got! We always had a tree in the house and Mom would not let us throw the tinsel on it, each silvery shiny string had to be placed strategically to have the longest and most elegant effect.
One Christmas we were gathered in the front room and when we were finished opening gifts – I don’t remember anything in particular – probably pyjamas – new socks, etc.. But Dad said one present had not yet been opened and we got pretty excited – which one of us would be the lucky kid? Anyway, when he said it was me I was delighted to be singled out. He then said “Go in the bathroom and look in the mirror”. I had the Mumps!
I’m sure I wasn’t very sick because I probably ate my share of turkey too!
Our Christmas Tree... and Two Sparkling Eyes
My name is Yvonne Gregory Horrey, I was born and raised in Nakusp, BC, a picturesque village situated on the Upper Arrow Lake. I’m the eldest of six children. We lived in a two story house on ten acre parcel of land of which my father’s parents purchased following their immigration from England. Their first Canadian home was in Winnipeg, two years later they moved to their newly acquired property in Nakusp. One of my fondest Christmas memories is the day our family trudged through the snow to find and cut our Christmas tree. We left the tree decorating to Santa on his Christmas Eve visit, he never disappointed. Our Christmas stockings were hung at the foot of our beds, ready for Santa to fill. Another Christmas memory is the Christmas morning my parents escorted my brother and I to the barn, upon entry all I recall seeing were two sparkling eyes which I soon discovered belonged to a white and brown spotted puppy. We named him Spot, a springer spaniel. Spot became our faithful companion and friend, he accompanied us everywhere even to Saturday matinees. I remember my Mother telling us that Bill, the theater owner jokingly said that he should charge Spot admission.
Yvonne Gregory Horrey
MEMORIES OF A SPECIAL CHRISTMAS EVE MORNING
I had just turned 10 years old that year, and it was the last Christmas I spent in my wonderful childhood home and in the country where I was born. It was a special Christmas because my sea-captain father, who often spent months away at sea, was home to celebrate with us. It was very early Christmas Eve morning and my four siblings and I were excited to check out our shoe which we had placed in the window the night before. Old Swedish folklore tells about the little Tomte Nisse who lived somewhere the attic/basement and watched over us and the barnyard animals all year. He always left a little gift in the shoe for good kids. (he never missed thanks to my mom!). Then the magic, when my father invited us to come downstairs into our formal dining room and we saw the beautiful tree lit up with real burning candles and the homemade decorations we had spent hours making before Christmas! Together my parents had baked the Christmas buns, breads and decorated our home while we were all dreaming of the Jul Tomte who would be knocking on our door on Christmas Eve!
* Our Santa (Jul Tomte) walked and knocked on the door.
An Appendix Christmas Story
A memorable Christmas for me was the year I was 10, I was really looking forward to Christmas but had severe abdominal pains when we would normally cut and decorate a Christmas tree. I ended up in a small town hospital on December 19 and was operated on the next day to remove my appendix. They still used ether in those days, and apparently I woke up and tried to climb off the table when the doctor began his incision (the resultant scars remain today!). The doctor told my mother they had to give me twice the amount of a grown adult to keep me under. I was allowed to go home on Christmas Eve but only allowed a little food at Christmas dinner, which really upset me. And that is a Christmas I will never forget!