Dick Tracy: Sharing memories of Christmas past
We weren’t “poor” in Christmas of 1949, but mom was a clerk at Woolworth’s and my stepfather was a fry cook whose employment at a downtown Reno restaurant depended upon old Highway 40 being open during snowy weather. Money was tight.
Our 32-foot long house trailer was by far the largest in the auto court, but had just one bedroom. The nearest communal bathroom was about 75 yards away. My younger brother and I slept on a fold-out love seat in the front room, not far from the kerosene stove that supplied heat.
Both of us knew there wouldn’t be a lot of toys under the Christmas tree, but were still excited when we went to bed in our parent’s bedroom — lest we disturb “Santa” on his visit.
And in the morning my favorite electric train — that came out once a year — was whizzing in a circle under the tree.
It had added a new car, too.
Among the gifts I remember were a new pair of blue jeans (“School clothes”) and a bicycle that I could tell dad had painted red with a brush. The kids at school would probably ask, “Where’d you get that?”
The tree (bought when last-day prices were, “Any Tree: $1!”) had a wonderful aroma and was enhanced by a radio station playing Christmas carols all day.
I knew all the lyrics because that was when kids were allowed to sing religious music in school. It is, you may remember, a religious holiday.
But what I remember most was a feeling of closeness that’s still hard to describe.
We all knew things were tight, but we were together, and loved each other, and we’d be fine the day after Christmas – and beyond.
Dick Tracy, who lives in Grass Valley, is a member of The Union Editorial Board. His views are his own and do not represent the views of The Union or its editorial board members. Contact him at EditBoard@TheUnion.com.
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