December 29, 2009

Christmas Memories!

Cheerful Christmas Bells!
Diane in wide eyed wonder gazes in awe up at Santa.
Diane's dark green wool snow suit had grey lambs wool trim

My parents would take me to the city where in the department store Santa and his wife would listen to the requests of their little children visitors. My Santa had a real beard and mustache and long white hair. He had the biggest belt buckle I had ever seen and a ring that I'm sure was ruby red. There were also a couple of reindeer who resided with Santa and his wife there at the department store. The store had wonderful big windows with animated Christmas scenes. There were Christmas decorations and lights draped high over the streets. There was music from a loud speaker and from my earliest memory the one I liked the best in the city was "Silver Bells". When we got to the part in the song "As the shoppers rush home with their treasures", we always sang out "As the Shepards rush home with their treasures". It made it so much more personal and fun! Church bells could also be heard chiming the hour from the various churches in the city.

A glimpse of part of Diane's old fashioned village with villagers enjoying a merry skating party. Old fashioned music box music is played near it which is just right for the skating party.

I have always loved bells! What a joy as a child for me to find in the newspaper a daily story, written and illustrated by Betty Goetz Knudsen. There were pictures to colour, of Bellinda, a bell who lived in an old church tower and what happens to her as the people in town decide to build a new church. The border that was always at the top of each day's story reminds me of Tasha Tudor borders. I imagined that Bellinda lived in all of the churches in the same city that Santa Claus, his wife, and reindeer resided. How my cousin and I looked forward to each day's installment. I put each day's story in a little book that I made with foil covers. When I coloured this in the first time when I was a little girl, Bellinda was pink, so when I coloured her in again this time she could be no colour but pink. When Bellinda was happy she sang "ding-a-dong-a-ling-a-dong in her silvery tinkle-tones". The people in town when they heard Bellinda sing were so happy because "they all knew that Christmas was coming." Bellinda had friends in the story: Bobbin Robin, the mousekins three, Bootlet Johnny Boy, and the brown and white cow. Does this not, dear readers, remind you of Corgyncombe's Tillie Tinkham the mouse, Chirpy Cheerful the bird, and Bessie the cow?

Later, I remembered the Bellinda story when Sarah was little. I wrote to the paper and asked them if they would consider running it again, as I remembered how much joy it brought to me. I described the story and included a drawing that I drew from my memory of Bellinda the Bell with little mice. I was delighted to receive in the mail copies of Bellinda's story and find my drawing was similar to the picture of mice sliding down Bellinda. The lady at the paper said they couldn't run Bellinda's story in the paper again as it just wouldn't fit in with modern times. How sad that such a sweet story wouldn't fit in! Unfortunately, ones feels as if the city, once reminding one of Bedford Falls, now is sadly like the dreaded Potterville, as in the movie "It's A Wonderful Life." Maybe the world could use more sweet, innocent little stories for children.

I have always loved the movie "It's A Wonderful Life", it shows so poignantly how one man's life affects the lives of others. The younger daughter of George and Mary (Hatch) Bailey, Zuzu, looks and sounds just like Sarah as a little girl. Zuzu and Sarah have the same twinkle around the eyes, especially at the end of the movie when Zuzu's eyes crinkle up in the happiest of smiles. As a bell on the Christmas tree rings, Zuzu says "Every time a bell rings an Angel gets it's wings."

One year on Christmas Eve I can remember going to town with my father to see Santa one more time to make sure that he was going to get everything straight. When I got back home there was a silver metal flying saucer on the picket fence with a big red bow that said "From Santa" and I remember standing there and saying "But that's not right!" I was very upset. I had asked Santa for a specific doll just a few minutes ago. Come to find out our neighbors had left the saucer but I didn't find that out until the next day when I received my specifically asked for doll for Christmas. I soon loved my silver metal flying saucer and how I would bounce, bump, and whiz down the hills at breakneck speed with it and remember fondly the dear neighbors and the sight of the silver metal flying saucer on the fence with the red bow attached with the sparkly snow all around in the moonlight.

Diane on her silver metal flying saucer!!!

I remember one Christmas Eve going ice skating with friends and how exciting and delightful it was to think that the next day would be Christmas. We skated and skated and warmed ourselves in a little hut with hot chocolate. We were out all day and came home with the reddest cheeks and slept soundly 'til Christmas morn.

Even as a baby Sarah would study and analyze detail. Dolls and their houses were always amongst her favorite things. When she saw this old dollhouse she got so excited and started chattering up a storm. When we would ride about the city Sarah would always get so excited when she saw the manger scenes and especially the Baby Jesus.

When Sarah was little we went to hear a quartet playing at an old historic house. We then went out to dinner. Our after dinner plans were altered as Sarah announced that she wanted to go back to listen to the "pretty usic". The event was held on a different day than it had been in years past so it was practically a private performance. Sarah sat on her Daddy's lap with her elegantly dressed bear until the evening's entertainments were brought to an end. The cellist was so impressed with Sarah's attentiveness that she invited her to feel the cello vibrate as the bow graced the strings. In a few years hence, Sarah would start playing the violin and played 1st violin in her own quartet!

Diane's Mum would take her for walks on the old country roads in her little sled.

I used to take Sarah for walks in her little sled. You can hardly see the sled for all the blankets and bundles. I always thought she looked like a little seal in this photograph. The white blanket that covers her is one that I handspun and knit. We hung a little brass bell underneath on the front of the sled.
How we loved the bell as it sang "ding-a-dong-a-ling-a-dong" as we went along. Sarah and I have always loved bells!



Anonymous said...

Thanks for such wonderful blogs! I really enjoy your photographs, particularly the older ones :) -- reminds me of so many things. Take care, happy new year, stay warm. It's snowing like crazy here in Vermont.


Paula said...

Dearest Diane and Sarah,

As you know I love every post that you share, but I must say this is one of my favorites! Diane, thank you for sharing your beautiful and heart-warming Christmas memories! I am so happy that not only did you have a happy childhood, but that you provided Sarah with one so similar to your own. How blessed she is!!! It is amazing how much you and Sarah look alike as babies! How that must bring you such joy. I loved seeing you in your sleigh and the newspapers you shared. Oh, how I wish they would have ran that again, and said "pooh!" to modern times! It is wonderful that you kept those to look back on and share with Sarah.

Your old-fashioned village is beautiful and looks quite life-like!

I just love the look on Sarah's face when she was admiring the dolls and doll house. You can see how animated she is! Oh, and to see her with the cello, I am not one bit surprised she was so attentive. I am glad as she grew older she learned to play the violin, and in her own quartet!

The photos of you and her in the little sleighs are absolutely darling!!! I love that you spun and knitted her beautiful white blanket and hung a bell on the front. What memories she must have!

Thank you for sharing this beautiful account of Christmas pasts, the way Christmas should be celebrated!

Many blessings from the Lord, and much joy in the coming New Year to my dear friends, Diane, Sarah, the Corgyn, goats and dolls!

With love from your kindred spirits,
Paula, Pearl and Poppy

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