The year of 1960 went by. Days of being at home with my mother as my dad worked at Kellogg’s cereals. I turned 5 in May of that year. I remember playing alone with my toys. Or watching television on the old black and white set. Or maybe rummaging through my dads clothing and trying on this and that. I discovered that I had a lot of growing up to do to fill dads shoes. Very pleasant days with my mom and then with my dad after he got home from work. Mom would prepare a great dinner either on the stove, or the double built-in oven. Dinner was served on the fold down dinette. We never folded it down. It always remained in the ready position. Then afterwards, dad and I would go to the living room for some television time. Dad would watch Perry Mason and some other shows I can’t recall. One show I do recall is the Flintstones. The Flintstones first was released as an adult cartoon. However the kids loved it too. The one episode that stands out is the one where Fred and Barney build a pedal powered helicopter. Then they flew it over the town. I was already just beginning to be interested in flight. I guess that is why this episode stands out for me.
The year went on and soon it was the holiday season. It was my first year to go trick or treating. I don’t remember what mom dressed me up as. Come now it was just over 60 years ago. Memory fades on some of the details. I do remember walking up and down Jono road and knocking on front doors and my mom telling me to say “Trick or Treat”. I can’t remember if I said those words. I do remember looking at each home owner, smile on my face, with my plastic jack o lantern held out as the home owner dropped candy in!
Then came Thanksgiving. We had guests that year for Thanksgiving. Three of my moms sisters Esthereen, Grace, and Doniett along with uncle Harold, Esthereen’s husband. I loved my aunts and my uncle Harold. Uncle Harold reminded my very much of George Burns the actor. He did not remind me of him at the time but now in retrospect he does. His mannerisms and they way he talked were definitely a George Burns style. He called me George. When I said “I am Jim.” He would say “Okay George. Jim it is.” My Aunts would dotter over me and they gave me gifts they had brought from Dubois Pennsylvania. I still have a teddy bear that was given to me on that visit. My mom and my Aunts went into the kitchen and fixed this enormous feast for Thanksgiving. Turkey with all the fixings. Cranberry Sauce, Stuffing. The works!
And then Christmas came. Again we had a guest for Christmas. My cousin Bobby and his mom and dad, Esthereen’s son Robert and his wife. I know this is all very confusing. But here they were. Bobby and I played well together. We enjoyed each others company. We were the same age. Christmas eve came and dad said “Hey Jim. Hey Bobby. You both better get in bed. You know what they say. All good boys and girls have to be in bed and asleep or Santa may not come. He will try to come back to see if you are asleep. But you just don’t want to take the chance now do you? So off to bed you two. Scoot!” So we Scooted! We brushed out teeth and I offered Bobby the top bunk. And off to sleep we went. Meanwhile the adults got to work doing the work of Santa.
Bobby and woke up very early on Christmas day as children do. We were told the night before not to go into the living room until they had got up. I went into my parents room right next to my room and told them we were ready to go out to the living room. Dad told me that they were not ready and that we were to wait. Well he did not tell us that we could not peek. So we lay down on the floor in the hallway and stretched our little necks out as far as they could stretch. Oh my God! From what we could see, the room was filled with presents. We could not wait to go out. But we were good and waited for out parents to get up.
We finally were allowed to go out and under the tree was a miniature town. And around the town there was a miniature railroad with a train that smoked and four box cars and a caboose. Wow! After some instruction we operated the train making it go forward and backwards. Bobby and I played for hours with the train. I received other toys too. Some Lincoln Logs. Some small cars and some other things. Clothes and stuff. But by far, the train was the best gift ever!
I hold this Christmas in my heart as on of my favorite Christmases. Each Christmas adds to the next you know. The good Christmases and not not so good ones too. Each Christmas the memories flood back in and the memory of the people that made it possible. Merry Christmas everyone! And Happy Holidays!