adventures in dysthymia

Sunday, January 01, 2012

Christmas, 1952

The house was empty, except for the Christmas tree.

Though I was still four months shy of my third birthday, I remember it clearly. It is the first Christmas I can recall, the Christmas we spent in the tourist cottages beneath the Australian pines, our little house not quite ready yet.

But Dad set up a tree in the bare living room, placed our presents beneath it, and we all went over on Christmas morning to open them. I remember a toy truck...or was it a fire engine? I pushed it all over the empty rooms, across the terrazo floors. I also remember being loathe to pick it up because I wasn't sure it was for me.

I was new to Christmas, after all. It's the first gift I remember receiving at any time. My parents assured me it was mine and an older sibling was not going to take it from me.

We had left Ohio a couple months earlier, just as winter was moving in. I do have a few memories of our home in the north and, in particular, everyone getting into the car on a cold day to start a trip. Was there snow or is that a detail my imagination added?  I assume it was the family setting out for Florida.

Florida -- that's where the memories truly begin, with a Christmas tree and an empty house.

Stephen Brooke ©2012

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