~Living a life of sophisticated domestication deep in the heart of Texas~

Friday, December 18, 2009

Yes, Shawn, there is a Santa Claus....

No, I'm not entering my second childhood, lol. It's just that I've always chosen to reserve that special corner of my heart at the holiday time for Father Christmas. I grew up knowing full well that the gifts under the tree came from my family. Some of my fondest memories of childhood are of spending the night in the front bedroom at Grandma and Grandpa's house in Tacoma, getting up early at the crack of dawn to get ready to get on the bus to Seattle and shop the big department stores with Grandma. I could hardly wait to see how Frederick and Nelson had decorated their store- not just the display windows, which were amazing, but they'd change their carpeting colors and have enormous ornaments and snowflakes hanging from the ceilings and glass counters covered in snow, draped in ribbons and trees all lit up, with wonderful music playing. And the Dickensian carolers singing outside.... and the doorman all decked out in holiday splendor. Then on to the Bon Marche, Nordstrom, and back to Tacoma to go to Rhodes and Peoples....We'd first go to the bakery for biscuit, then the linen department for the latest sheets and towels by Vera, the book department for the new book Grandma had picked out from the NY Times Bestseller List, then lady's wear. We'd stop and have lunch in the restaurant and watch the fashion show. I'd have grilled cheese and dill pickles, a milkshake that I could barely see over. We'd linger awhile, then go to the toy department. It was a great day of riding the elevators and escalators up and down until I was exhausted. I helped Grandma carry the paper shopping bags (most of what we bought would be delivered to the house the next day). Then it was back on the bus. I'd doze in my seat, leaning on Grandma, as evening fell. We stopped off at the meat market in Tacoma and I'd pick out what we were to have for dinner (I just realized that somehow it always ended up being pork chops, no matter what I picked out) and we'd get "link weinies" on a string (I got to count out as many as I liked) for breakfast with toast in the morning and biscuit. Last, but not least, we'd go to the dime store, just for fun. We'd finally get on the city bus and ride up the hills. I got to pull the cord to ding the bell when we neared our street and we'd be dropped off in front of the house, just after dark. Grandpa would have put on the coffee and the house was nice and warm...It was a lot of fun.

So, actually, I guess it's the spirit of Old St. Nick/a.k.a. Grandma Mary that I've actually tucked away in my heart and I've never quite gotten over it...As an adult, I managed to acquire the most fabu Father Christmas collection. They're long gone now, hopefully having found their ways into the homes and hearts of other, like-minded realists ;+).

Happy Holidays!!!

Shawn, who loves her Santa Baby SGTex

photo courtesy of Vintage Postcards, a depiction by Raphael Tuck

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