i grew up a mile from my dad’s sister and her husband (kathleen and george). his other sister (one of my favorite aunts – the loopy one – colettie) worked in rochester, but every weekend she would come to her sister’s house to spend the weekend with all her nieces and nephews and the rest of her family. rarely does a family stay so close to home, almost unheard of now days, and although i thought it was wonderful at the time, as i grew older, i began to see what kind of an “effect” this had on the family members.
weirdness aside, one of my most vivid memories from when i was younger was receiving my swingset on my third birthday; another was christmas at my aunt’s house.
their house is a work of art; it’s hard to describe, but everytime i go there, i am in awe of how “put together” the house is and how coordinated all the interior design is. it has rustic charm with a touch of flair. when you first walk in, there is a good-sized porch where you hang your coats and kick off your shoes. a good 10’x12′ room. there are three doors in the porch, one, of course, comes from outside, one leads to the large living room, and the other the small-ish kitchen. both the inner doors had a window pane on the top half of the door. (sense of space is very important in the following story.)
when i was 2-1/2 years old, my family (consisting of my mom, dad, and myself) went to kathleen and george’s house for christmas eve. when i got older and my family got bigger, we started to host christmas eve at our house. but until i was about 4, we went there for christmas eve.
they opened their presents that night instead of christmas morning, so there was frantic gift unwrapping and sighs of gratitude from all. then there was a buzz circulating the room about santa claus. is he coming? my 2-year-old self was a firm believer in santa claus.
oh, how i hoped he would show up. oh, how i hoped i would meet him and see what he looked like so i could ask about his reindeer and mrs. claus. oh i hoped i hoped i hoped. so i sat on colettie’s lap and waited and watched, mostly the fireplace because it was widely known that santa came down the chimney.
then i heard sleighbells jingling through the kitchen from the porch. my attention swiftly diverted from the chimney to the door where i could glance through the window to the porch.
a flash of red!
the door to the outside was closing as i whipped through the kitchen door to the porch. i had missed him.
but in his wake was a pink and blue big wheel. ecstasy!
a few minutes later my uncle george came through the front door, rubbing his hands together and shedding his coat, explaining that he had seen reindeer tracks and had santa come? and oh boy! a big wheel!
and i was a believer. oh to have that feeling again.