20 December 2012

Christmas 1965

These are the last slides for 1965.  All were taken on Christmas Eve and Day in the Bartlett Lane house.

 Brother Fred, his then girlfriend Kathy and me.  Christmas Eve 1965.

It is by coincidence, not design, that I am posting Christmas pictures today.  I have some time and I thought it would be a good idea to post some more of the slides from Reel 6.  Finding that the next slides in the reel were of Christmas came as a rather bittersweet surprise.  I'm sure the first 5 reels of slides also have Christmas photos -- these then are the last I have for a Clas family Christmas.  My Mom loved Christmas.  She loved singing and she loved Christmas carols.  Though I didn't share Mom's talent I did love singing with her while we decorated the house and baked and made fudge.  When Gus was little he and I played the same Christmas music and we sang while we decorated the house just like I did with my Mom.  These are definitely memories I cherish and seeing these photos transports me back to both my time with Mom and my time with Gus.  Bittersweet.

I must admit to some mixed memories when it comes to the tree itself.  One of these days I will go back through the slides and find all of the pictures of Christmas trees past.  I'm fairly sure they will all be identical.  Dad commandeered all control of the tree.  Here's how it went.  We all went out to get a tree though only one of us could actually select the tree.  The tree was always perfect both in shape and fullness.  It was however always too tall.  Which meant that on the coldest pre-Christmas day of the year Dad had to cut some of the trunk off;  with a precision that would both amaze and torture us, measurements were taken (including height of the tree stand and the star which had to fall exactly three-quarters of an inch below the ceiling).  Then once in the house and in the stand we all had to position ourselves at various places in the living room, dining room and on the staircase to watch and comment as Dad slowly spun the tree to insure that the best side was showing at each possible angle.  And then it was time for the lights.  In those days the lights were the large screw-in colored bulbs.  Dad made sure that the bulbs were of equal distance from one another.  Again we were sent to opposing corners of the room to insure perfect color distribution.  If there were 2 blues side-by-side the search began for a place on the tree that could spare a yellow or red light while incorporating the offending blue bulb into a new, though still acceptable color pattern.  At this point Dad's work was done.  He would grab a beer and watch a game while those of us who had not had the foresight to escape got to do 'the fun part'; (as the youngest there came a time when this fun fell on me and me alone). Hanging the balls on the tree was rather fun -- for whatever reason we always seemed to get that right.  But tinsel placement was another story. It had to be impossibly perfect.  Each branch had to have the same amount of tinsel.  Each branch contained no more than one bunch of tinsel.  Tinsel had to be placed on the outer most tip of the branch and had to be placed so that it would fall perfectly straight down so as not to clump onto a lower branch.  Each side of each bunch of tinsel on each branch had to be of equal length.  When done we would summon Dad back up for inspection.  It was then his turn to pace the room insuring that all of the tinsel had been placed according to regulation.  I'll say no more except that once Karen, Freddie and I had our own homes, and our own Christmas trees, none of us ever used tinsel.   

Me and Karen setting the table.  I now have those plates and the ruby glass goblets which I love.


Janet, Fred, Karen, Dorothy

I also still have the silver charm bracelet I am wearing in these pictures.  I got it for Christmas 1964.  For this Christmas in 1965 I got a small silver bell.  The last charm I put on the bracelet was a silver pacifier to commemorate Rosie.

I hope these pictures help you remember some of your favorite Christmas memories.


Emily and Blake said...

I love your description of putting up the tree. I always wondered why my dad was so against tinsel. It all makes sense now. :) Merry Christmas!

brus said...

Hey Janet,

love the old pics, also brings back childhood memories... my Mom can atest to the 'tinsle' placement. I remember her telling us the same thing, she said it was from her father Alex's instruction. Now I know where he got that from 'uncle Freddie' he was 'the man'........ ha,ha. We never used tinsle either (my fam now). I absolutely loved that time and I've tried to share those past memories with my kids over the years as I'm sure you have with Gus. But nothing will ever replace those 'cool' old days. Have a very Merry Christmas and my best to you and family. My Mom said yesterday that your Dad call her and maybe get together with her and 'Billy'.

thankd again, Steve