Monday, December 8, 2008
Until I was six years old, this is the house that I lived in. Of course, this photo was taken when my parents first bought the house. By the time I came along, you have to picture it with landscaping. The porch faced the street, and all along that side of it were barberry bushes as high as that porch. Privet hedge ran along the sidewalk. On the side of the porch along the walk leading to the front door was a little garden which was always full of tulips in the spring. On the other side of the house and in the back, gardens were full of flowers. The photographer must have been standing in the driveway, which was lined with big forsythia bushes. They had grown so tall and full, drooping down to the ground, that we could go inside of them. We pretended they were a row of houses, and visited our dolls residing inside each one.
But my post today is not of spring or summer. It's about Christmas. You can see the chimney. In the living room we had a wonderful fireplace. There were french doors on either side of it, leading out to the porch. We hung our stockings on the mantel above the fireplace, and in the far corner of this picture we had the Christmas tree. It was always a huge one, reaching the ceiling. Directly opposite the tree was the staircase leading to the second floor. A few steps led up to a landing before making a right turn to the hall upstairs.
The Christmas I am recalling today, I was a sick little girl. It was either mumps or chicken pox - I don't remember which. All I remember is that they got me out of bed on Christmas morning and led me down the stairs to the landing. They made a huge fuss about how exciting it was. Santa had come! I looked at the tree below, mumbled that it was pretty, turned around and went back to bed. They went down and got my stocking and brought it up to me, but I wasn't very interested in it. I just wanted to go to sleep. My parents and sister and brother were very disappointed. Of course, in the next day or so I was feeling much better and ran down the steps and tore into the presents. I think that was the year Santa brought me the little horse. It wasn't a proper rocking horse. It was a horse's head, with a seat for me attached to a thick metal band that let me bounce up and down. It lasted about a week, when my friend Jack rode on it too rambunctiously, and it broke. Again, I remember the grown ups were extremely disappointed, while I just said, "That's OK, Jack", and was more concerned that he shouldn't feel too bad. Anything Jack did was OK with me. If it had been my brother, I'm sure I would have been furious.
I remember every inch of that house. The fireplace was the best. When we came in from a day of sledding or building a snowman, we snuggled up in front of the fire to get warm. My mother would bring us hot cocoa and cookies, and sometimes we toasted marshmallows. We always went sledding on the golf course, which was quite a distance from our house. I can't tell you just how far it was. I'm sure distances were much greater when we were little children, and it's been many years since I visited that part of the country. All I know for sure is that by the time we decided we should go home, our boots and mittens and hats and hair were caked in ice and snow, and we trudged what seemed to be a long, long way to reach home. We couldn't wait to get in front of that fire. Cocoa and cookies never tasted better than they did on days like that. We got our fronts all toasty warm, and then turned around and toasted our backs. It was wonderful!
The picture of the child peering up the chimney is from Webshots.
And this particular snowman is one I built 7 years ago.