Monday, December 3, 2007


I will never ever forget the Christmas of 1974 and my son's were ages 26 months to 15 years old.
Obviously some of them still believed in Santa.
Here is how that Christmas was....We had food stamps (I guess when you live in the good old state of WIS and you have that many are entitled to them). Anyhow..that is all I ever had and since their Father had (by mistake...right) thrown out all of our Christmas stuff, lights, ornaments etc etc...I had no money for anything except groceries. The Lord sent an Angel to watch over me on Nov 2 nd in 1973 and she knew the circumstances and let me buy her some coffee..meat and things like that.
You could not use food stamps for anything that you could not eat and therefor we had done this before so I could buy toilet paper...laundry soap and items that I needed every day but could not buy with food stamps.
Well this was the year the Scrooge decided to be a REALLY BIG SCROOGE and would not give me even 1 cent to buy Christmas gifts for my son's.
I used the money to buy some cheap lights and at least 1 item for each of my boys. Then I got busy on my sewing machine and I even took the furry lining out of old coats that had been given to me by a distant Aunt. She owned a beauty shop in Chicago and customers would always bring her things to give to me because they knew about my large family.
In these boxes from her were everything from infant clothes to Men's and Ladies up to size 52...but I never refused them. They came in handy for my Garage sales also. Well I took a lot of the clothes from her and made them into stuffed animals and I was also lucky enough to have fabric that was passed on to me from when my Grandmother passed away and was able to make them each a shirt and some pajamas for the younger boys. My Guardian Angel (Her name was Lill and she was 30 years older than me almost to the day) also let us go in her field and cut down a tree ...which my older boys were happy to do. I was also able to purchase a cheap tree stand. I can still remember what an ugly tree it was...they called it a "Jack Pine"...but it was a tree. I was able to buy some cranberries and pop corn that we popped and we strung that for garland. I can still remember having a problem with one son that wanted to just eat the pop corn. Then I also was able to buy enough ingredients for cookies and had some old cookie cutters that were my Grandmothers and we decided that we would bake and decorate cut out cookies for our ornaments.
That was an experience that I would never do again...8 boys helping me make cookies and some arguing over how to decorate them...It was definitely something that I will never forget.
I was able to come up with a small variety of items for all of them and this was a lucky year because there were a lot of nice NEW clothes in the last boxes of donations from my Aunt. Still had the tags and one was even a boys Cardigan Sweater with suede on the elbows and collar.
I did the usual and stayed up late on the 24th and got all the gifts wrapped and the stockings that I made were all filled. Nothing was expensive but it looked really wonderful under the tree and I hung the stockings.
Then Christmas morning while they were all excited and opening their gifts (and I'm sure they knew about the money thing with their Father) and it was way more than they had anticipated.
Their Father came out of the Bedroom because the noise woke him up and he stood in the door way and they all were looking up at him and I will NEVER forget his exact words!!!!!!
You all want to know who Santa Clause is....She is, because I didn't give her a "Fing" (only he said the word) dime. The room got kind of silent and he left the room. I have no idea of what their thoughts were then. I tried to change the subject and tell them to come to the table and eat some Breakfast.
There were some Christmas's that were better...and they were all great once I married Billy...but that one will stick in my mind forever and I can not ever forgive the cruelty he used on my young son's that Christmas.
Looking back at the pictures from that Christmas...I do remember that it was the most beautiful tree we ever had...and I can still remember all the labor that went into it :)


Nellie Ann said...

That's an amazing story!!! You need to start writing all of these things I can use them!!!

cora said...

I agree, Nellie! I've been trying to encourage Nancy to write all these things down NOW!

Nancy, you are an amazing woman! You have weathered a lot of storms, been tough when you had to be, but I've always heard that tender side when you speak of your kids.

Christmas isn't about how much you spend, but rather, the love that goes into it all. I'm sure all your sons know how hard you tried to make their lives happy and wonderful!

Thanks for sharing! Cora