When my sister Jeanne read this past Sunday’s post, she remembered her days of pouring through the Sears & Roebuck Christmas catalog with her siblings long before I was born. She also remembered the first Christmas with the man who became her real dad. Here are her musings…
Christmas before my Dad….
Prior to my mother’s marriage to Stormy’s father, our holidays were quite different. Our household consisted of a single mom and five wild kids. Mom worked days as a bookkeeper or waitress and evenings at a local tavern to support us. She was an extremely proud and independent person refusing government help so Santa gifts were simple but often supplemented by our wonderfully generous Salvation Army and the local firemen, who refurbished second hand toys which were then dropped at houses late December 24th. We didn’t really feel deprived because we lived in a post- war housing project for veterans and everyone was in the same boat.
However, in early 1950’s Mr Ferguson came into our lives. He was a tall quiet gentleman who met our petite raven-haired mom at his favorite bar where she pulled his pints and chatted up the regulars. Dad had never been married and his partial deafness meant he often kept to himself but amazingly he was not put off by her rowdy brood. Instead he arrived that first cold snowy Christmas morning with his arms piled high with brightly wrapped boxes each tied with colorful bows. We were stunned.
This long time bachelor had purchased games, dolls, ping pong pump guns, books, drawing supplies etc. wonderful fancy new toys. But best of all Mr Ferguson not only laid on the floor to play games with us but later laughing chased my brothers around the house shooting each other with ping pong balls. This sweet giant man become one of the kids, so later when a pin pong ball landed in the middle of one of mom’s homemade pumpkin pies we squealed with delight when the culprit was dad.
What a wonderful first Christmas with Mr Ferguson. And subsequent holidays were also fun, gift and memory filled. When Mom would chide him for buying too many gifts, dad would respond with, “money is to spend to make folks happy”. Dad had been an orphan and family was special for him. He proved to be the best Santa five raggedy kids could hope for. And we loved him.