Sunday, December 18, 2011

Childhood Christmas Memories

Childhood Christmas memories are shattered glass in my brain. Something bright flashes attractively, but it’s not all there. Perhaps that defines my love affair with this king of holidays, why it can never seem to live up to all expectations. Still, I reach back to those touchstones again and again, hoping. My uncle as Santa, even though the myth was never perpetrated in our house. The spirograph, Kenner’s psychedelic gateway drug for eight year olds. Gene Autry’s 10” Rudolph The Red Nosed Reindeer record fighting for turntable time with Dean Martin and Doris Day’s LPs. Christmas tree as nightlight. Curling mounds of ribbon with a paring knife. The smell of Mod Podge. A six foot aluminum tree in my bedroom, decorated with ornaments made from old cards, egg cartons and construction paper. S.O.S for breakfast.Fire at the Wild Goose Discount Center two days before Christmas. My mother cranking out scads of spritz cookies (a talent I never mastered). Dad listening to clay 78’s of Christmas songs in Polish, tears in his eyes. Silver spray painted cardboard angel wings. Singing for midnight mass. Big, hot lightbulbs on a cloth covered wire. Breaking the nativity's angel. Tinsel. Tinsel. Tinsel…. so much tinsel.

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