This is a special memory from my own childhood.
My second trip back to Michigan from California was in the December of 1970. It was my first Christmas with my new family. I wish I could find where I have put all of the pictures from that trip but all of it is forever captured in my mind. Not only did we celebrate Christmas, we celebrated my 21st birthday, Dad’s birthday and went to a bunch of holiday parties.
We hadn’t told Sandy and John that I was coming. Daddy picked me up at the airport on their last day of school before Christmas vacation. I can still see the look on Sandy’s face when she walked into the front room and saw me sitting there. At first, she looked so confused. You know how it is when you see someone where they don’t belong, kind of a Twilight Zone effect! When it finally sunk in that it was really me, we both screamed and she gave me the best hug ever!
John walked in after her; he wasn’t nearly as thrilled to see me! John and I didn’t always relate the way that Sandy and I did but we did have one big bonding moment that trip. John was in Boy Scouts and he and Daddy had built a car to enter in the Race Car Derby. It was fun going as a family and even more fun when they asked me to be one of the judges. While he would never admit it, I think John was proud to have me as his sister that night. I know I was proud to be his big sister.
Sandy and I shared her room for the next week and had fun being sisters! HOURS were spent lying under the sun lamp that Daddy had. Don’t know why he owned it and it really didn’t work that well but we had fun lying under it, reading magazines and talking. There may have been some instant tanning lotion incident, too. I seem to remember Sandy’s hands turning kind of orange.
OH and there were the cookies! Sandy and I decided to make Christmas cookies. It was a good thing they lived in town at that time as Sandy and I had to walk back to the store twice to get more powdered sugar. There was not one inch of counter space in that kitchen that didn’t have frosted cookies on it. We even had them on top of the washer and dryer. I have no idea why we made so many but I do remember they were very good and as always, we had a blast doing it together.
Then there were the parties! Being there in December I got to go with Mom and Dad to both of their company Christmas parties. Sandy and John didn’t go to these as they were grown up parties – but I did! It is hard to explain the emotions of it all. Mom and Dad were both so proud and excited to introduce me to all of their friends. I was so excited to be with them and to feel such love.
We had a family party to celebrate Daddy and my birthdays. Dad and Mom bought me a beautiful turquoise and gold ring and we had a huge chocolate bakery cake topped with poinsettias! It was probably the only time I didn’t hate having a December birthday. I even liked having a Christmas themed cake.
But I must say the best of the holiday parties is the one I remember the least! Mom and Dad were having a Christmas party at their house for some friends. I don’t remember where Sandy and John were that night and I don’t think there were any other kids there. The house was decorated and we were all dressed up fancy. It was Mom, Aunt Phyllis and me waiting for Daddy and Uncle Dick to get there before all the quests. Daddy and Uncle Dick both worked for Consumers Power Company and of course it was snowing extremely hard that day and both of them were still out working. Mom decided to make a pitcher of Pink Squirrels for the three of us to sip on while we waiting for everyone else. A Pink Squirrels is crème de cocoa, crème de almond and heavy cream blended with ice. It tastes very much like a liquid centered chocolate covered cherry. It sure didn’t taste like alcohol. We sipped, chatted, and lost track of time and the number of sips! We were on our third pitcher when Daddy walked in. I just remember him saying, “So you decided to start without me.” I don’t remember many of the details after that! I do remember Daddy playing the organ while his friend Bill played the guitar and we all laughed sang.
It was a wonderful trip filled with lots of wonderful memories.