Thursday, December 29, 2011

Skatin' Around the Christmas Tree - 1950s Style

Memories of Christmas back in the late 50s start with the living room filled with presents. This is before my brother arrived on the scene in 1959, so the presents circa 1958 included all-girl stuff for my two sisters and me. Dolls galore for Debi and Van, along with an easybake oven with a pack or two of cake mixes, a red tricycle with fancy handlebar handles with red and white streamers, and lots of new dresses and patent leather maryjanes. 

For me, the oldest at age 10, a microscope is the gift of choice. My mother gave me the deluxe model with a separate accessories case full of things like glass slides, little magnifyiers, dried bugs, and diatomaceous earth (I'm not sure I ever figured out what that was for). I was the girl child who never wore a dress, except when required for school. 

The crowning glory of our Christmas tree included special lights on the tree bubbling gold and red inside their 3-inch, liquid filled, glass spires. There's nothing in the 21st century to compare. (Now they are considered too dangerous to use, even if you can find them.)

Can it be true I received a new microscope every year? No, that's impossible. But I did receive a new pair of white ice skates every year. That's every single year from age 10 to 14. Rhode Island in winter is frozen solid and perfect for skating. Ponds and lakes from Weekapaug to Exeter hosted skaters in red and blue and snowflake sweaters. They twirled around the perimeters making sure someone special watched from the hillside nearby.

I had the skates, but I wasn't much of a skater. Once I stood up in them, my feet hurt no matter how many pairs of socks I wore. So, I would skate 5 minutes so my mother could watch and wave. Then I came in for hot chocolate.

Every year a child or two would fall through the ice and be hauled out later by the fire department. To me, this meant skating should be forever banned everywhere. But no. To be a New Englander, you must skate. Maybe that's why I live in Maryland. . . . 

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Thank you for commenting! I appreciate it. I'll get back to you as soon as I can! Peace, Meredith