Archive for Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Musing from the Hill

December 18, 2013

Merry Christmas from the hill.

Many of us have special Christmas memories of times long gone: traditions passed down from generation to generation. It is a part of Christmas we should endeavor to continue —links to our past. Also take time to savor and enjoy today.

Our grandparents lived in a big Victorian house in Swarthmore, Penn. Our great-grandmother had her own bedroom and sitting room. My grandmother and grandfather, a young unmarried uncle and our family of (at that time, four) had our own rooms. Eventually, all families including a childless aunt and uncle, moved into separate homes in New Jersey. In the Great Depression our father lost his job, as did my grandfather. We could no longer make house payments. Therefore our family, except for my father, moved in with our grandparents. Mother had never worked. . She had five children to care for and our father’s job often involved travel. Finally Mother obtained a job in a new five-and-ten store. Our Mother wrote excellent poetry but her parody of “The Night Before Christmas” endures as a Christmas tradition. Every year I mail a copy to many absent family members.

T’was the Night Before Christmas and all through the store

The customers were screaming, “There must be one more!”

The manager hustled (the sales girls all said)

While visions of more sales danced in his head.

The men in clean shirts, and girls watching the clock,

Were rushing around, looking hard for more stock.

The lights in the ceiling gave off such a glow,

That made goods on the counter, look better to show.

When down in the stock room, there arose such a clatter,

I flew to the stairs to see what was the matter.

I went down to the stock room and looked astound

And rolled my wondering eyes all around.

For all the nice candy to sell in the store,

Was dirty and spilled all over the floor!

As I covered my eyes and looked at the ground,

Down the stairs our manager came with a bound.

He was dressed all in gray from his head to his foot,

His nice clothes were spotted with dirt just like soot.

He had a sad face all covered with worry,

His eyes did not twinkle, his voice was not merry.

He said not a word but went straight to work,

And swept up the candy: including the dirt.

And laying his finger at the side of his nose,

He gave a grave nod, and up the stairs rose.

And I heard him exclaim, as I dove out of sight,

“Oh well, the customers won’t know what they are buying tonight”.

Margaret van Haagen Howe, 1895-1982


A Christmas reading to my great-great-grandchildren in Texas involves eight generations!


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