Saturday, November 22, 2008

Favorite Childhood Christmas Presents & Memories

As Christmas approaches, I was thinking about what were my favorite childhood toys.
My first memory is of Tiny Tears. She cried tears and wet her diaper and I loved her. I must have been about four or five when she came into my life one Christmas. She became the favorite doll until that more sophisticated Barbie stole my heart.

But rooting around in my mom’s closet one pre-Christmas Saturday, I discovered that Santa has lots of help from you-know-who, and Christmas anticipation was set back a notch or two. That is until another Saturday right before Christmas.

During the week, Mom worked her secretary job at Maxwell Air Force Base, commuting 20 miles from our home in the country to Montgomery. Saturdays became her days for grocery shopping at the Piggly Wiggly, errands and trips to JC Penney’s to try on what seemed like hundreds of dress as I tagged along.

When I was growing up, downtown Montgomery was THE place to shop. Pre-Selma to Montgomery march, pre-shopping malls and strip shops. There were two five and dimes. A trip downtown usually meant a visit to S. H. Kress where you could find all manner of cheap stuff, some of it not made in China. Sometimes we’d get a blue-plate special at the lunch counter—the white lunch counter. Even as a child it didn’t make sense to me. Why was there a separate entrance marked “colored” at my pediatrician’s office? The water fountains, the lunch counters.

But I have digressed, dear gentle readers.

On this particular post-Santa Claus-enlightenment Saturday, Mom and I headed to Montgomery Fair Department Store. Yep, the same place where Rosa Parks once worked as a seamstress--work that wore her out so much that she refused to move to the back of the bus that fateful day that launched the Montgomery Bus Boycott.

I already knew my big present that year was going to be a bike. As I nearly raced down the stairs to the store basement and laid eyes on it, I could hardly believe what I saw—a pink and white beauty with handlebar streamers sure to fly once I mastered the art of bicycling.

Christmas was yet to come this year but no Christmas since could match how I felt that day. I learned to ride the J. C. Higgins bike with Grandpa Parsons’ hands supporting my wobbly first efforts. He held on and as I gained momentum, he knew when it was safe to let go and I sailed off, streamers flying.

I invite my dear gentle readers to share favorite childhood Christmas memories. Send me an E-mail and I’ll post your responses or leave a long comment.


Anonymous said...

When I was in the 5th grade, I got what was called a "mod" watch. It came with 3 interchangeable bands. They were very loud and 60'ish. I loved that watch and still have the face of it in a box in my closet.
Banana seat purple bike came in second. Had streamers coming out of the handle bars. The seat was purple with sparkles. A real beauty!

Sheila said...

Floridagirl, I remember those as well as the banana seat bikes. How could a girl resist purple and sparkles!

Diane J Standiford said...

Christmas was a big deal gift-wise, thanks to my aunt whose house my mom and 2 older brothers lived in. Aunt really put on a show and relatives filled the house. Funny, my most memories are sad ones; but the days leading up to were wonderful. I was thrilled to get a purple Dino the dinosaur that moved by batteries. My mom and I wore 101 Dalmation, flannel, matching PJs one year--very cute.

UmmFarouq said...

Mine has to be the year we all got Madame Alexander dolls. I think that was the last Christmas we spent as a family, four kids and two parents present and accounted for.

Palm Springs Savant said...

How fab Sheila- great trip down memory lane. Love this!

Anonymous said...

Yes, UmmFarouq (sister) that was nice to get those Madame Alexander dolls. I think Mom still has them. It was also nice that we were still a family unit.

Marion said...

Christmas was celebrated on Christmas Eve, as a child. And it really began on December 6, when St. Nicholas came to fill freshly polished shoes with either candy or coal...depending on my behaviour. My Mom lit candles on the Advent wreath. On the first Sunday in December she would light a candle, and another each Sunday thereafter until Christmas.

I have really great memories of the whole house being decorated, and German Christmas carols on the record player.

Naomi said...

I remember having one of those Tiny Tears dolls Sheila. They used to be very popular here in England. Reading this post brought back some happy memories.