Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Christmas memories

circa 1969
Check out the style here - saddle shoes, walabees, crochet poncho, and wow that's some big collar on my shirt. pretty funny stuff. That's the blacksmith shop in the background where my dad made all sorts of iron tools and latches and hooks, etc.

We had many wonderful memories/ traditions at Christmas time when I was growing up. My dad likes to do every thing the colonial way. One of the things I especially enjoyed was making our own candles. He would build a fire outdoors and hang a big iron kettle over it filled with wax and we would dip our string in the wax, walk around the fire pit and then dip again, going round and round until we had a sizable candles. And sometimes to warm our hands we would stick our hands in the wax and then let it cool and see who could create the best finger mold. We burned a lot of candles in the house at Christmas time so we made quite a production of this. One year we were even featured in the paper because of all the traditional activities we did at Christmas time - baking gingerbread men in hand carved molds, even roasted a pig one year (that's quite a story - raising a pig in the middle of a prominent sub division). We lit candle bags made from brown paper sacks filled with sand and placed them all the way up the driveway lighting the way for our guests each year - we had a long driveway so it was very pretty; we used all fresh greenery up the banister and mantel - went out and shot mistletoe out of trees for decoration - to hang in the doorway. Back then my brothers would shoot it out of the trees with a BB gun and I would tie bows on bunches and we would sell it in the neighborhood
. Every Christmas Eve we would eat clam chowder that dad had cooked over the fire place along with Smithfield ham and biscuits when we got back from church. And THEN after dinner we would open gifts from each other before going off to bed. So many nice memories. We do things much simpler now but I'm glad Dad, and Mom, taught us some of the traditional ways of the colonial days.

I love going home at Christmas. My parents home radiates with warmth and love. There are so many wonderful decorations - German Nutcrackers, and German Smokers; hand crocheted snowflakes in the windows, handmade dolls, and Santa dummy boards all made by Mom - every where you look - something interesting.

They don't make the candles anymore or put the candles bags up the driveway but we still have clam chowder and Smithfield ham and biscuits on Christmas Eve and they still hang my first stocking. When I was born (in Nov) they placed me inside the stocking and my brother, who was 3 at the time, was dressed as Santa Claus posed for a Christmas photo . I peepeed in the stocking and the stain still remains (luckily it was on the back, but it was a felt stocking that couldn't be washed). The story has been told to every boy friend I ever had.


curious girl (lisa) said...

such lovely memories.

and I believe you can never go wrong with a poncho and a pair of wallabees!

ELK said...

Leslye what charming traditions and so vivid in your memory with photos to go with them...

Georgia B. said...

maybe it's because i'm mostly German, but these pictures look so warm and inviting! i can see why you loved spending Christmases there!

i love the vintage photo!

Woman in a Window said...

OK, enough! That photo, the story, then the house and the Colonial/historical references. You must be after my heart!

Elizabeth said...

Oh wow - what amazing memories!

I hope you had a wonderful Christmas!

Donna said...

Love the 60's look...and your house looks like its straight out of Martha Stewarts magazine...beautiful!

Elizabeth Harper said...

I really enjoyed reading this post...it was an interesting look at your family life.

It must have been great to grow up in a home like that with your parents.

Thanks for taking time to share this one.

Happy New Year!