One of my fondest holiday memories was the year of 1959.
There were five of us girls and mom was due for child No. 6 any time. Mom had taught us Christmas was mainly about the birth of Christ, but we also believed in Santa.
We always spent the week before Christmas baking cookies and stringing popcorn and making ornaments for decorations for the tree.
We knew there would not be a lot of gifts on Christmas morning, but we knew there would be something. Always candy, nuts, banana, apple and tangerine in our stockings and a couple of gifts under the tree; usually one toy and some kind of clothing, shirt, pajamas or sweater and maybe a jump rope, jacks or Old Maid cards or something of that sort.
All week long we would sing Christmas songs. We went to a one-room country school so there was always a Christmas program to attend where every child in the school had a part. Mom was always busy making the costumes out of old clothes the week before the program. Also, we were usually in the church pageant so we needed costumes for that too but mom always came through with something.
Dad worked two jobs but always made it to both the school programs and church pageant. My parents always stretched to make ends meet but we always had clothes on our backs and food on the table.
Anyway, this year, 1959, was special because we knew there was going to be a new baby soon. Around 9 p.m., Christmas Eve, my dad woke my older sister, then 12, and myself, then 9, to tell us to sit with mom while he went to get the baby-sitter as it was time for the baby to be born. It was snowing hard by the time dad got back with the sitter and left with mom to go the 20 miles to the hospital.
I fell asleep around midnight, and when I woke up around 6 a.m., Santa had come even though my parents weren't home and dad was just coming in the door with the news that we had a new baby brother born on Christmas morning.
We were all talking about the baby while we were opening presents when my 5-year-old sister went over and climbed up on my dad's lap and said, "Daddy, please tell Santa to take that baby back. I want more presents."
We all had a good laugh about that as we had our hot chocolate and cookies for Christmas breakfast. Dad let us have this as mom wasn't home and would have had a fit at cookies for breakfast. He told us not to tell mom as she would have his hide, and you know, I don't think mom ever found out.
Now, 46 years later, we pray Santa won't take that boy back as my brother is fighting a battle with cancer and we are praying he will win. We lost both of our parents to cancer eight and nine years ago, and we aren't ready to lose him too.
n Pam Olvera is a Carson City resident.