I’ve been playing catch up all day long, and I have to say at this point I am day dreaming about leaving the country. Hanging a sign on our door that reads Merry Christmas I will see you all next year! Where would I go? Well I have several places I can think of right the top of my head. There are so many places I have never visited. If I had the financial ability to visit each, and everyone of them my posts would be a lot more interesting I’m sure. In this particular moment I am in need of a time machine, because I would like to travel back to December 1971.
I was six years old, and living with my aunt the (“queen of the holidays”) in an apartment on West 44th street in Cleveland, Ohio. In 1971 downtown Cleveland was a pretty rundown city filled with a very diverse population mostly the poor. My aunt was a single mother with four children living in an old two-story apartment. Her oldest daughter was married with two small toddlers, and living just outside of Cleveland. Her two sons, and her other daughter were still living at home. It was Christmas Eve, I was staring out the second floor bathroom window at the top of terminal tower brushing my teeth, and watching the snow fall hoping to catch a glimpse of Santa in his sleigh. My youngest cousin, and I still great believers had been keeping a steady watch all evening and we were beyond excited about his impending arrival.
My Aunt read us “The Night Before Christmas” we had placed a glass of milk, and our homemade cookies on a dish next to the Christmas tree. Our stockings were hung on the mantle, and the apartment glowed in a soft array of colorful twinkling lights. She told us that as soon as Santa came she would wake us up so we could see all the wonderful surprises he might leave under our tree. How we were able to fall asleep with all the anticipation of seeing our carefully thought out Christmas lists materialize under our tree was nothing short of a tiny miracle in itself!
My Aunt’s tradition was to let us sleep till about 4 in the morning, then she would run up the stairs calling out loud “Wake up everyone Santa was here!” We would stumble out of our beds, and run downstairs. Our Grandmother, and other family members would already be in the living room watching us enter the doorway squealing with excitement as we caught our first glimpse of our magical wonderland left by Santa. Some of our treasures were carefully displayed while others were wrapped in whimsical paper with shiny bows. This Christmas my number one wish was a tiny doll called “Thumbelina.” I had seen this infant doll on commercials for weeks. She had a tiny cord that when you pulled it the tiny infant like doll would wriggle, and cry just like a real infant.
As my eyes scanned over our magical little wonderland, I saw a cradle with a large shiny bow attached. I ran over and looked inside the cradle. It was “Thumbelina” lying there wrapped in a little pink baby’s blanket with a little plastic baby bottle that was made to look like it had milk inside. Next to the cradle was a tiny doll stroller that matched. I could hardly contain my sheer happiness in that moment. I loved my gifts, and after all these years that Christmas still stands out in my mind as the most magical Christmas of my childhood. I should also tell you that I still have this little doll. She is a constant reminder that as adults we have the ability to create wonderful magical moments for children, and we should never underestimate the power of pure joy. 😉