Holiday Memories: Three kids get a Christmas lift
It was Christmas 1952. I was 6, and my two brothers were 4 and 2. The prior year had been a very bad one. Our mother had died 10 days before Christmas in 1951.
Because of the Korean War, our father, who was a career Navy officer, was now stationed in Korea, and we were living with an aunt and uncle on their farm in central Illinois. Well, Christmas Eve 1952 came, and after dinner, we bundled up and went to church to attend the small Christmas pageant they celebrated each year.
I knew when we arrived back home the house would be full of family and friends who were coming to spend Christmas Eve together. To a 6-year-old it was very exciting, especially since the last Christmas had been so terribly sad.
There was snow on the ground, and it was freezing cold that night – just like you think of a Christmas Eve. The farmhouse was all aglow with lights when we got back from church. The decorated tree stood in the living room, and, since the family was together for the holiday, there were lots of gifts under it.
Everyone was talking and laughing and suddenly my uncle said, “I think I hear sleigh bells.” Everyone got quiet, and we did hear sleigh bells! Then, through the front door burst Santa Claus in his red suit and flowing white beard! He said that since there wasn’t a fireplace in the house, the door would “just have to do.”
We three little kids were in awe! He laughed and wished us all merry Christmas and knew all our names and what we had “been up to” that year! We each took turns sitting on his lap, and he gave each of us kids a special present he pulled from his sack. Then he was gone.
I can’t help but admire those family members who thought enough of us three kids to do something so special and kind to make that such a very special Christmas for us.
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