The Nevada Appeal's tradition of publishing Holiday Memories written by our readers continues. Thanks to all those who took time to share their stories.
- Editor Barry Smith
By K. Schnezel-FitzHenry
Hope and faith. Those are words we use too often at the holiday season and often do not know what they really mean. This town showed our family the meaning of those words more than 18 years ago when we first moved to Carson City.
My husband had come to Carson in 1988 to help build the Smith's grocery stores. I was left behind with a very precious 5-year-old daughter, a 15-month-old baby and one on the way.
This last pregnancy was not turning out as planned, and the baby I carried was very feisty and determined to make his way in the world early. Despite having preventative surgery to stop the early delivery, this kid was having none of it. At 19 weeks, I was hospitalized and had to be flat on my back to prevent delivery. I was stuck in Phoenix with my mom coming from Colorado to take care of the kids. My husband was here in Carson. Needless to say, it was not a pleasant time.
After delivering a very small, sick baby 10 weeks early in August, we were told we could leave the NICU and move to Carson City at the holiday season. I looked on a map and it looked like a little mountain town nestled against the Sierra Nevada. OK, I could do this move away from all family and support and start our lives in Nevada.
The Smith's stores at that time were still owned by the Smith family, and they managed to find us a house and arranged transportation from Phoenix to Carson. But one thing they could not provide was family, friends and support in an unknown community. We settled in and our daughter Lissell started at Gleason, and Jeremiah played in his yard digging "Oles" and Jonas grew.
Lissel was worried that Santa would not find her in her new house, and I was worried my pocketbook would not be able to buy anything from food to formula to diapers, let alone Christmas gifts.
I had seen an ad in the Nevada Appeal for a club starting in town called Christian Women's Club. We met for coffee and fellowship. They were other young women with families who were looking for friendship and support also. Being a very stubborn and prideful person, I could not share my family's financial problems with these women. But I had hope and faith; hope that everything would work out and faith that it would.
On Christmas Eve 1988, the doorbell rang, and when I opened it there were Southwest Gas Corp. trucks and employees on my front lawn. They began bringing in boxes of food, toys and money to help us. Another mother in the group, Suzanne Brothers, whose son Nicholas was Jeremiah's age, had heard of our need and asked Southwest Gas to adopt us for the holiday. The tears flowed and the thank yous did not seem enough.
That Christmas was so very special and stays in my mind even now, 18 years later. They even arranged for Santa (the sheriff's department) to deliver gifts for each individual child in person. Lissell was so impressed; Santa had never personally sought her out ever before in Phoenix or Denver.
The year 2005 saw the graduation of Jeremiah and Nicholas. They remained friends over the years and even competed against each other for the title of Mr. Carson High. It is such a small loving community that stepped up and helped a new family in the community who had nothing to celebrate and remember the spirit of Christmas. I will always remember that special time.
• K. Schnezel-FitzHenry lives in Carson City.