The Christmas season is a time for nostalgic memories. It’s a time to reflect on the many memories surrounding this wonderful time of the year. The older one becomes, the more the memories pile on, year after year. I have an intense interest in our past history; indeed, I have made nostalgia a very important part of my life. Past Christmases are very clear, and indelibly impressed in my memory.
I remember those boyhood Christmases at our Hartley Avenue home; Christmases that were often fraught with poverty, but always with thanksgiving for the meager gifts we received. I remember the disappointment I experienced as I realized that I didn’t get that much too expensive “Royal Blue” American Flyer train set I wanted so badly, nor that Red Ryder Daisy Air Rifle that was on almost every boy’s Christmas list. I fondly remember my “secret place” under our old Gulbransen radio next to the Christmas tree, where I listened to the songs of the season while reading the one of the many books I wanted for Christmas, Ernest Thompson Seton’s “Wild Animals I Have Known.”
Christmas is a time to remember WWII Christmases when brothers Bud and Len were off on foreign shores fighting in World War II. I will never forget the tears in my Mom’s eyes as she listened to Kate Smith sing “I’ll Be Home for Christmas.”
I remember my first Christmas away from home in far away Europe, as a soldier in the U.S. Army Security Agency, singing Christmas carols with my fellow bunk mates as we tried to bring a little bit of home to the barracks on those lonely Christmases far away from home. Our Christmas decoration that year of 1957 consisted of steel combat helmet with a candle on top, resting on pine and holly sprigs.
Christmas will always be memories of our three children, now all grown with children of their own, waking up at 2,3 and 4 in the morning with that question all moms and dads have experienced: “Daddy, Mommy, is it time to get up yet?” “No, go back to sleep. It’s only 3 o’clock and Santa hasn’t been here yet.”
It’s remembering how Judy and I, and parents all over Christendom rose well before the crack of dawn and introduced our children to their first Christmas; turning on the tree lights and signaling that all is ready. It’s the indescribable joy we experienced as we beheld the look of wonder and happiness in their innocent eyes. There’s the “Mickey Mouse” tree for our first-born, Juliane; along with the “Barbie” and “Ken” dolls she loved so much; the Chatty Kathy, Mrs. Beasley’ and Raggedy Anne; the latter lass still reposing in my happy home with the same smile on her face that she had those many years ago, when she sat under our Christmas tree.
It’s memories of those boys of ours; typical of boys from every generation, as they tore open their treasured GI Joe, Matchbox racers, trucks, sleds, baseballs, and the inevitable electric train.
It’s memories of sitting up on Christmas Eve with Judy, patiently assembling “part A” into “part B,” and always ending up with extra nuts, bolts, and washers. It’s that French bicycle we got from “Two Guys” in Bordentown those many years ago for such a bargain, only to get it home and find that critical parts were so shabbily made that the finished product was an inexpensive piece of junk. It’s my brothers Donny, Bud and Len chastising me for buying that piece of junk.
It’s the 25 years or more of Christmas Eve dinners at Aunt Doey and Uncle Bill’s cozy Cape Cod cottage in Bordentown, decorated into a winter wonderland by the incredible artistic talents of Judy’s sister Doey.
It’s that first guitar we bought for little Tommie, who went on to teach himself how to play, and along with his brother Ken who today are both accomplished singers and guitar players. It’s the delightful music we provided to the parishioners at St. Anthony’s Church on Christmas Eve, as we sang the songs of the season at the entrance to the church, and the Christmas Mass.
But most of all it’s the memories of the real meaning of that holy holiday we call Christmas, as we celebrated it at church, school, and home, long before it became politically incorrect to wish anyone a “Merry Christmas.” It’s remembering when “Merry Christmas” was the un-contested Christmas greeting along with “Happy New Year.” Merry Christmas to you and yours from all the Glover family!
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Mark your calendars! On Monday, Dec. 19 from 7 to 8:30 p.m., my singing partner Jack Pyrah and I will be presenting an evening of music and nostalgia with an old fashioned Christmas carol sing along in Rooms 3 and 4 of the Hamilton Township Public Library.
imilar to the old “bouncing ball” in movie theaters of long ago, most of the lyrics to our Christmas carols will be presented on the screen. I will also be presenting “1943: A WARTIME CHRISTMAS,” which is an on-screen presentation as I recall a visit to downtown Trenton as it was during the years of WWII. We’ll be remembering Nevius Voorhees, Swern’s, the Mayfair Theater, and Goldberg’s Toyland. I hope to see many of my readers there. The program is free and open to all.