Thursday, December 20, 2007


Back: Julie, Dad, Ronnie
Front: Gloriann, Mom
Where's brother Johnny?


Carole at Pea's Corner has tagged me to list 12 things about Me and Christmas. Note that I did not use the dreaded M word.

1. We opened our Christmas presents at our house on Christmas Eve and then went to Grandma's house for Christmas Day. Mom fixed a quick meal on Christmas Eve: grilled cheese sandwiches and tomato soup. She knew that her kids were eager to finish eating and get to the presents.

2. We stayed far away from Grandma's House on Christmas Eve because that was the one day of the year that they had lutefisk. Thank goodness the smell had dissipated by the next day, due largely to the lovely aroma of turkey.

3. Our gifts were kept at Dad's service station/shop until Christmas Eve. This is because Brother John would covertly open all his gifts before Christmas, and carefully re-wrap them. Some years Dad would be on the road and didn't get home until late. How our Mom must have suffered with trying to appease four anxious kids!

This lacquered Chinese music/jewelry box
was a favorite present when I was 12.


4. My brother Ron swore to his dying day that one Christmas he saw Santa and his reindeer flying across the face of the moon. Whenever my sister and I wanted a good laugh, we would have him tell his Santa story.

5. I remember one Christmas when I had the stomach flu. All I could do was lie on the couch and look at my gifts - a cool stove, fridge and sink set.

6. My brother John, age 25, and his girlfriend were killed in a car accident on December 21, 1978, on their way from her parents' house to mine. It will be 29 years tomorrow. The only reason we had Christmas that year was because of Glori's two-year-old son Nick, whom John loved as his own kid.

Left to Right: Julie, John, our Cousin Kevin, Glori, Ronnie
Guess our Grandma did have an aluminum tree!


7. My favorite Christmas carols are "God Rest Ye, Merry Gentlemen" and "Good King Wenceslas." When my Aunt Mary asked me what my favorite carols were, that's what I told her. "Oh, you would pick them," she said. I think she meant: "You're weird."

8. I kicked the aforesaid Aunt Mary out of my house on Christmas Day about five years ago, for making really nasty comments about Dan, me, and our family. She didn't have to go sit in a snowbank - she had my sister's place to go to. She would always come down for a week or two at Christmas and constantly criticize our pets, our late meals, kids running around, etc. She never, ever stayed at my sister's place; she criticized her even more. One year, I just.had.enough.

9. My favorite part of Christmas? The lights. When you live on the prairie, distances from farm to farm to farm and town can seem even longer on a dark winter night. Those Christmas lights bravely shining on the houses at each farmstead were a welcoming glow. They meant, people live here. It is not all stark and barren and silent.

I made out like a bandit this Christmas!
Check out the watch and the snazzy apron.
I must have had a perm because
my hair was never that curly!


10. School and church Christmas Pageants stand out vividly in my memory - so much so that I am going to write a separate post about them.

11. Dan's family opened their presents Christmas Day. The first Christmas I spent with him alone, he made me wait to open gifts until Christmas morning. It just wasn't the same! I spent my first Christmas away from home with Dan in Langdon, ND. Because of his schedule as a physician's assistant, we weren't able to go back to Williston and Larson.

12. I always associate Christmas with tangerines, which I love. It isn't Christmas unless I have tangerines. Yes, I have had them this year, and they were wonderful.

That is one Charlie Brown Christmas tree!


At this point I am supposed to tag other people, but frankly, I left it go too long and I am sure anyone I tagged would jump up, all afrazzle, covered with gift wrap and tape, and moan, "I can't possibly do it now. Why are you such a procrastinator, Julie?"

Uncle Donnie with another Charlie Brown tree!


Anonymous said...

I love this post and all the pictures. Thank you for some fascinating reading.

Carole Burant said...

Dearest Julie, thank you so much for participating in the Christmas Hoopla I tagged you with:-) I SO enjoyed reading the 12 Christmas facts about you and loved seeing the pictures as well. Such wonderful pictures you have of yourself at Christmas time and those Charlie Brown trees are the best!! Looking at those pictures makes you wish you could go back to those simpler days, don't they!! I'm so sorry to hear that one of your brothers died so near Christmas, that had to be such a hard time to get through. Today is the anniversary of my baby Jesse's death...I didn't post about it this year, didn't want to upset everyone so close to Christmas. He only lived for 2 hours and today would have been his 28th birthday. I'll be thinking of you tomorrow!! xoxo

Anonymous said...

Love this post and you have some great pictures. We also always did our family Christmas on Christmas Eve. Mom said it was because she did not want to miss any of the time watching her children with the Santa presents. But My Grandmother had hers on Christmas Day at Lunch. Love Hugs and Blessings

Leanne said...

i love posts like this, a real insight into anothers life!

happy yuletide Julie!

Leanne x

Bimbimbie said...

Hi Julie - lovely photos, memories happy and sad ....tangerines and brazil nuts were also special Christmas treats when I was little too *!*

Genuine Lustre said...

Those are some great family photos and memories, good and bad. Life is like that, isn't it? You've made me want to go rummaging for my own Christmas pictures.

Laurie said...

I enjoyed reading this Julie....I am very sorry to read about your brother.
We always had tangerines in our stockings as well as walnuts. My Mom used to say the tangerines represented the gift of gold from the Wise Men, I am not sure about the nuts!! I still put the same things in my kids stockings, you are right about tangerines and Christmas, just the smell brings back the memories!

gma said...

This post brought back memories of Christmases past for me too...Hey once I saw Santa going across the moon...I really did! The innocence of our youth, family traditions, Charlie Brown trees,
snooty old aunts that had plastic on their couches when kids came over, once I was an angel in a pagent because I had a blue bathrobe. So sorry you lost Johnny too soon. Sending love for a beautiful holiday.

Tea said...

I loved looking at your old pictures and reading your story :)
Have a wonderful Christmas and yours.


Mary said...

Dear Julie - this is a wonderful post about your childhood Christmases - thanks for sharing those great photos of you and the Charlie Brown trees - guess we all had them and loved them - now they are always so perfect!
In England we always had small trees that stood on a table - most people bought them on Christmas Eve from a local shop......and we decorated them with real candles - how dangerous was that!!!!

Lila Rostenberg said...

Wonderful and clear Christmas memories! Good for you for throwing out the critical aunt!