Christmas, My Childhood Memories

I realize the original intent of this blog was to chronicle our world travels, however  during his happiest season of the year I felt a need to write about my memories of Christmas before I joined the Navy and set off to see the world.

On the 24th of December 1931, on the advice of my father’s doctor, the folks sold what they couldn’t get on a small truck and the family left Kentucky for Colorado where it was felt that the climate would be better for Dad’s TB.  My sisters were afraid that Santa wouldn’t find them on the road, however he did, and brought each of the girls a celluloid doll. Though for the family, the trip seemed to take forever, it lasted only five days. They arrived In La Jara, Colorado in deep snow, with 6 kids and $25.

For the next few years our family struggled to survive and moved to different homes in the rural area around La Jara. Two or three years after my birth in 1935, we moved to small house west of Bountiful, Colorado, which had two bedrooms, living, dining, kitchen and our family now numbered nine.  Mom and Dad slept in the living room. 

Christmas was “the” holiday of the year and my first recollection of Santa.  Since there was no Southern Baptist Church in our community, and our family did not attend church, I had no knowledge of our savior.  Christmas was centered around Santa Claus and the gifts he would bring.  That year I got a windup train, with tracks, for that special day.  No matter where we lived our home was always filled with the smells of my mothers baking in preparation for the feast of Christmas,  and happy kids.  As far back as I can remember Santa always brought the family a crate of oranges, a box of bananas, a basket of apples and boxes of mixed candy and nuts.  Santa never failed to find us, no matter how poor we were.  How could a child in a family so poor not believe in Santa.

One night in our next home east of Bountiful, I was lying on a bed in our living room when I looked at the front door window and there was Santa peaking in at me!  In a flash I was under my brother who was lying on the bed with me, I was as scared as if I had seen a ghost.

Christmas 2010As he years past by and we moved a couple of more times the numbers in the family home became fewer and fewer as my sisters got married and my brothers went off to fight in WWII.  Santa still came and brought his usual bounty of treats.  We always had a tree although we had to hang our stockings on the back of a ladder chair in the living room.  One of my most vivid memories of Christmas Eve was lying in my bed, just off the kitchen, trying to force sleep.  The smells and activity in the kitchen only served to heighten my anticipation of what was to come on Christmas Day.

To this day it has never been disclosed to me the sacrifices my folks endured to keep alive in our hearts and minds the promise of Christmas.  Perhaps by keeping Santa alive they kept the hope for our future as good citizens who would someday find the real reason for Christmas – the birth of our Savior Jesus Christ.

Today, as I look around me what I have, I wonder if someday my children and grand children and now great grand children will look back at their childhood with fond memories of what Santa provided them and one day realize the true meaning of Christmas as I did.

The 2010 tree you see pictured in this post is for the Christ Child and if Santa wants to visit that would be okay.  You see at 75, I still believe in Santa and what he has meant to children the world over for centuries.

Merry Christmas and a very prosperous and Happy New year.

6 thoughts on “Christmas, My Childhood Memories

  1. Thank you for this wonderful Christmas story, Jack. It filled my heart with inspiration and joy!

    Wishing the entire Cummings Family a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!


  2. Jack,
    That was a wonderful story of you and family. Thanks for sharing it with us. Hope all your family will be together during the Christmas Holidays. Blessings to you and family.

  3. I enjoyed you story. I usually don’t read long stories, but yours held my attention.
    We are a year apart, ( I’m 1934) so I can relate to the times. We have 5 children and 12 grandchildren, so I know what you mean by a big family.
    Here’s wishing you a Merry Christmas and a Very Happy New Year!

    1. Thank you Hawkins. Barbara and I often think of you folks and hope that someday we will sail together.

  4. Thanks for sharing your story. I found it on the way to checking out the top of the world trip that you all mentioned on the roll call.
    We look forward to meeting you on the Noordam transatlantic.

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