Thursday, January 1, 2009

Holiday Memories

Despite the overwhelming frenzy and greed of the season, I really do love the holidays.

I love Christmas songs, the sparkly cold weather (and snow, if we’re lucky!), the scent of pine from the tree in the living room, candles, treasured ornaments and, more than anything, the idea of making memories for my children.

I grew up in New York City. My earliest Christmas recollections are of being dressed and bundled and going downtown to my father’s office on Fifth Avenue. I always wore a dress and the skirt, with its full, scratchy crinoline, would be stuffed into my woolen leggings. Ugh, I always hated that! I would be topped off with a matching coat, a matching hat that tied under my chin and, usually, a furry white muff that hung around my neck. Then we would walk a few blocks south, past the statue of Atlas that always fascinated me, until the tree in Rockefeller Center popped out like magic.

One Christmas I got a record player. My father put a single of White Christmas on it so it was playing when we came out to our hoard under the tree. I never hear that song without remembering that moment. It is especially poignant for me to consider that if I was seven, my father was only 28 years old.

I adored my grandparent’s Christmas tree, covered as it was by bubble lights. I feel sad that, even though I know we were there every Christmas (my grandmothers lived across the same Manhattan street from each other) I cannot pull up a memory of my other grandma’s Christmas tree. I know she had one, as I have some of her ornaments. It is just not in my head. Bubble lights trump.

Of all my Christmas’, the memories that are the most precious to me are the ones that involve my children. Providing that longed for treasure, surprising them with something they hadn’t asked for, the pure and innocent joy they took in the preparation for Christmas day. What bliss!

New Year was not a big tradition in my family. We did not stay up until midnight when I was young, I wasn’t even aware of such a thing until I heard schoolmates talking about it. We certainly did NOT ever go to Times Square. My grandfather was a police lieutenant in that precinct and forbade us to even consider it. I never even watched the count down on TV.

I had only been married for a few months in 1976 when the New Year rolled around. Dennis and I were sitting in bed the night before, watching the news. He was reading the paper. The news was doing a report on the Times Square New Year’s ball. And I said idly, “Boy, it is a miracle no one has ever been hurt by the ball dropping.”

A few minutes went by and the newspaper was slowly lowered. Dennis looked at me. “What did you say?”

Ok, I am no rocket scientist, but even I knew this did not bode well. I knew immediately that what I had just said was…um…stupid.

So I cleverly replied “Nothing, I didn’t say anything.”

By now Dennis was really laughing. “No,” he said, “Please tell me you don’t think that the ball is just heaved off the roof and it just happens to take 60 seconds to hit the ground.”

Well, when he put it that way it did sound preposterous.

I feebly tried to defend myself. “Well, they always say ‘drop’ the ball, they ‘drop’ the ball so…” By this time Dennis was laughing so hard I thought he was going to fall out of bed. I decided the least said the better.

Hey, I had a severe New Year’s Eve knowledge deficit, what could I say?

He never got tired of telling that story, practically weeping with laughter every time. Hardy har har.

What are your favorite holiday memories? I would love to hear them.

Have the happiest of New Years!!



That story's great!!

Happy New Year to you!

Jane Turley said...

Hilarious! That's the sort of line Jim Carrey would pay for!

Here's a holiday memory..not Christmas but..

Flying back from Potugal when I was about 7 with my grandmother they had a trolley with (I guess tax free purchases) on it. The air hostess wheeeled up to my nan and said;

"Would you like some toliette water?"

I said,

"Pooh, that must stink...."

I never have been very sophisticated.

manju said...

Happy New Year to you, Marie!

healthygirl said...

I don't think I ever have one. Happy new year, Marie! (It's a little bit too late but late than never :)

papercages said...

Marie, I'm sorry I'm such a slow poke. I have you in my reader and it is just so easy to say, "I'll comment later," and then get sidetracked.

I loved your story. Growing up in New York City sounds very exciting.

I remember the bubble lights well. I could look at them for hours. I think I still could.

Nicole said...

I saw you on Mom Blog. Just wanted to tell you that was a great story! :P Happy New Year (*just a tad bit late)