Our Tree in 1963
Our Christmas tree in 1963 was the most special of all my childhood tree memories.
We were in New York for just a year, so our boxes of glass balls and glittery ornaments were back in Iowa. After we bought the tree, the family spent days with paper, glue and glitter, crafting every decoration.
We strung popcorn and made chains of red and green paper. There were decorations and drawings on the walls and above the window. (The photo shows a construction paper sleigh with reindeer, flying above the curtains.)
So even though we were living in a cramped apartment that year, with a tight budget, Christmas felt magical. I will always give Mom credit for gathering us with craft supplies and Christmas music. We never felt like anything was missing from our Christmas.
A Tiny Bit of Crafting
Since we'll be having another "away from home Christmas" this year, I decided to do a quick ornament project.
Our family leaves for Thailand tomorrow, so I'm not complaining. But it feels strange to be in our home on December 21st, with no tree. Out of town family wedding & graduation festivities won out, over decorating. I had already thrown some LED lights on the mantel in a desperate attempt. Then I found the supply of craft paper...
There you have it! The chocolate Santa adds a nice touch. Now I need to pack. Maybe those paper decorations can go along!
Hot Chocolate and Piano
We leave for Thailand in 2 days, so I've been busy. But I gave myself a break today and made some hot chocolate. (It is 80 degrees in Houston, after all!) Then I sat down to the piano and played carols.
I loved it when my mom played Christmas carols on the piano. We 4 kids would gather around with what we called, "rhythm band instruments". They were kept in a little straw suitcase, beside the piano. We'd crash cymbals and tap wooden sticks and ring bells while we sang all the traditional favorites.
My secret favorite was "Friendly Beasts". I loved it because I associated the carol with my family... singing with my siblings, while Mom played the piano. I never sang it at school or church.
Sadly I couldn't find it in any of my books. But I hummed it later. I'm afraid I couldn't remember many of the words.
A Mod Celebration
I snuck in my 37th 6-Year-Old-Celebration, while enjoying Heidi and Jamie's coed bridal shower.
I love a theme and Heidi's maid of honor, Christiana pulled off a good one. It was a Mod Sixties Party, with everything from a Vespa in the yard, to fondue pots on the porch! Love it!
Heidi's vintage dress reminded me of a "paper dress" I owned in 1968.
Don and I had a good time shopping at Goodwill. My bold dress and hideous green sandals came to about $14.
6 in 1963-64
This photo of me with my big Sis, shows a little attitude, but not much of a mod style. I was 6 when we lived in NYC and "mod" fashion was just beginning. We were living in Staten Island and our family did make it to Greenwich Village, now and then.
It seems like I remember more of a beatnik scene than a mod style. I do recall seeing some mini skirts, but mostly on TV. I also remember a lot of turtle necks on TV, especially when my parents woke me to see the Beatles on Ed Sullivan. My personal fashion memories from when I was 6 are jumbled. My coolest outfit was probably a turtle neck with stretch pants.
Mod... A Little Later
My own mod outfits didn't appear for a couple more years, when I got my first go-go boots and fishnet stocking. A-line dresses with block print... my own little Beatles cap! Oh how I loved them! All I can dig up, is a photo of me in about 1968, wearing my favorite mod "paper dress". Too bad the black and white doesn't show the fun colors.
I added a photo of one of my parents' parties. Yep, the adults were playing Twister. Nothing like playing Twister in a dress... note the paisley shirt.
I wonder what was in the punch bowl?
1962 at Macy's in NYC
This is my only childhood memory of Santa. I was a big believer at age 6 and visiting Santa on a wintry Christmas Eve, at a city department store was magical.
By the time we left the building, it was dark and snow was falling. We had time to kill before picking up Dad from work, so Mom and the 4 kids wandered.
We walked on the newly white sidewalks, till we paused at a fire station and peered in. A couple of bored firemen saw us and invited us in. We tried on hats and explored the truck. It felt like a storybook Christmas Eve.
2017 at First Colony Mall in Sugar Land, TX
Early Thursday morning, I had a spontaneous visit with Santa. It was rainy and cold and the mall was quiet. I ran my errands in a huff... I hate malls. But when I saw Santa he made me smile. He looked as bored as the firemen 54 years ago.
"Hi Santa! I'd love to visit with you, but you're too expensive!" He laughed and told me to climb around the rope. He scooted over and we sat and chatted. "So how's it going today?" He asked in the most sincere way." I told him about my favorite Christmas in New York. Santa sighed... he was from New York himself..."Christmas was better back then." He added. A few shoppers paused to laugh while we chatted a while. I was itching to take a selfie with Santa, but I told him I saw the no cell pics sign and I was a rule follower. The helper returned and looked shocked to see me sitting there chatting. "Better go!" I laughed to Santa as I saw a family approaching. We waved to each other and wished each other Merry Christmas. I went away feeling pretty amused... especially since I'm pretty sure Santa was younger than me.
Santa on a Mule in Austin
I was already on a Santa high, when I spotted a Mule-riding-Santa in Austin the next day. I squealed at the sight.
Later, Don told our kids, "I had to stop the car, or the 6-year-old would have a fit."
Don let me out and drove around the block, while I rushed over to pat Santa's mule. Samuel Grey Horse (Santa) told me his mule, Muler loved people and did a lot of charity work. A friendly passerby offered to snap a photo and didn't charge me for a $39-dollar photo package. I handed Santa a 5 to pay for some mule treats.
2 Santa encounters in 2 days is hard to beat! I love being 6! What a celebration!
Best of the Collection
I spent a little time today, enjoying what's left of the old Meyer Family children's record collection.
Burl Ives and Harry Belafonte... Puff the Magic Dragon and Teddy Bears On Parade!
At age 6, I wasn't allowed to put the big albums on the Hi-Fi console in the living room.
But in the family room, surrounded by comfy furniture and knotty pine walls, the kids' record player was open to all. 15 years ago, we bought this vintage style "Crosely" so our kids could have the fun of putting the needle on the spinning 45.
Today, I played some of my old favorites and marveled at how the needle could find any music on those poor, abused disks. Memories returned as I listened.
Then I put on some albums purchased recently at the Goodwill. Sadly Gregory Peck's "Lullaby at Christmas" and the sluggish "Calypso Christmas" made me yawn like a bored 6 year old.
Kids appreciate the familiar. I went back to "Puff the Magic Dragon".