Monday, January 2, 2012

Christmas past--early memories

One of my earliest memories was when I was four years old, and the house we were living in burnt down on December 10th.  The Fort Garry Hotel in Winnipeg kindly put us up for a while, until some friends stepped up and took us in, letting us live in their summer house on their property.  Naturally, Christmas took a back seat to our struggles for resuming a normal life.  We stayed in the cottage for a few months, and then moved to a house in Winnipeg where we stayed for the next two years.  That was the place where I had my happiest childhood memories of Christmas.  I remember my mother taking red and green crepe paper streamers and twising them together, tacking them at the corners of the living room ceiling, so that the red and green alternated with every twist.  She had a big red crepe paper bell that she hung in the centre of the room.  Our tree reached the ceiling, leaving only enough room for the tinsel star on the top.  I remember best of all the little lamp shades that topped some of the tree lights.  As the lights heated up, the shades turned.  They were sort of sepia coloured, with pictures on them--a nativity scene on some, and three wise men following a star on the others.  The most memorable thing about these revolving lamp shades was that unfortunately the wise men were going backwards!  It bothered me a lot, but my dad (who could always fix everything) couldn't fix that.  The wise men were never going to get to Bethlehem.  I was an only child, and because all my toys had been destroyed in the fire, my parent and relatives did their best to make up for my losses.  I was spoilt rotten with the heaps of gifts under the tree, just for me (with one or two for my parents).

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