Wednesday, December 10, 2008
A Christmas Sled
As I mentioned in a recent post, my brother was a member of the Army Signal Corps during World War II. His two best buddies were, one in the Navy and the other in the Marine Corps. Thankfully, all three came home in one piece. Just having them all home again was Christmas present enough that year.
I must have been eleven or twelve that Christmas. Some years earlier, my mother, brother and I had moved into a second floor apartment. Mother and I had twin beds and shared the big master bedroom, and Bill had his own room - briefly. We had only been there about a year when the war began, and Bill was on his way to a four year stint in the armed service. That meant that I had my own room for four years. I was so happy to see him come home that I didn't really mind too much giving it up again for a while, until he was married.
I'm not sure how it happened that on Christmas Eve I was sleeping alone in the back bedroom again, but that's how it happened. Mother and Bill did much whispering together all day. Apparently there was something special for me in the works! And that is how it happened that I saw their surprise. I did not go to sleep as early as they thought. When my brother went down to the basement of the apartment house and carried the new sled up the fire escape, he had to pass the back bedroom window, and I saw it. This was a very big deal to me at the time! I had wanted this particular sled for ages, and there was plenty of snow that year. There were still shortages of one thing or another because of the war. I guess the metal runners made it hard to get or something. It was all I could do not to bounce out of bed, but I managed to wait until morning and to act surprised when I saw it under the tree. What's more, there was also a pair of ice skates to go with it! They were another still-hard-to-get item. That was a really, really good Christmas!