Saturday, December 11, 2010

A 1952 Newfoundland Christmas

by Goldie Luckey Simmonds
                       
My name is Goldie Maxine, I’m nine years old and I just LOVE Christmas.   My  brother and I have a contest going to see who can cut the most Santa’s from the Evening Telegram.  Yesterday I was extra fast and got them all cut out  before Dad was even finished with the paper……I can’t remember exactly what he said but his face was some red!  I won’t be doing that again.
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I can’t wait for Santa to come and fill my stocking.I hear that on the mainland they use store bought red felt stockings.They sound nice, but we’ve always used Mom’s nylons. I’m afraid Santa will think I’m somebody else and I’ll get scotch mints by mistake………I hate scotch mints! I have been warned though, that if I don’t watch my mouth all I’ll be getting in my stocking is a lump of coal.  I have been on my best behavior for two whole weeks now so I’m pretty sure I’ll get my usual big orange, big red apple and Purity Peanut Butter candy.  If I’m real lucky I’ll also get some Christmas ribbon candy, mom says they rot your teeth but Santa knows that they’re my favorite.
Mom has already baked her Christmas cakes including my favorite, walnut cake, and won’t even let me have a peck of it until Christmas.  Nan has made her blueberry wine, for medicinal purposes only she says (whatever that means).  All I know is that mom gets weak in the knees after a few sips.  Nan won’t let us have any though, only Purity syrup and cake for my brother and I. THEN I have to sit at the kitchen table, eat my cake like a good girl and not go wandering around.
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Just before Christmas, Mr. Snow delivers our Christmas tree on his horse & sled.  He lives way in past Mundy Pond and delivers coal for Morey’s on the Southside.  My dad is the weigh-master at Morey’s.  One time when we were really little, my brother and I walked all the way over to the Southside to visit him.  After my Dad got over the surprise of seeing us so far from home, he weighed me on his big scale.  Even though he knew I was a big girl and could find my way back home, we got a ride home in a coal truck.
Our Christmas tree is always the best one on Lime Street…..…..it’s decorated by Santa you know, we don’t see it until Christmas morning.  Of course it will be smothered with all the toys from Eaton’s Catalogue.  I made sure our Santa lists included both the page and catalogue numbers, just to make it easier for Santa.  We don’t need to worry about our letters getting lost in the mail though, we gave them to Mom and she sent them up the chimney.
We been haunting Bowring’s Christmas window and I can’t stop thinking about the Barbara Ann Scott doll that’s right in the middle of it. She’s all dressed in red and white and has real blades on her skates.  I’ve GOT to have her!   My brother is dreaming about the big Lionel train set that goes in and out all the toys in the window.  I’ve been giving this a lot of thought, but unless Mom lets us use the kitchen too I don’t know how he’s going to have room for it.
I can’t wait for the turkey with savory dressing.  I hear that on the mainland they make dressing out of sage, can you believe that?  Dressing wouldn’t be the same without Mt. Scio Farm’s savory.  My Mom always makes peas pudding in with the vegetables and of course there’s always salt beef for flavoring.  It’s some good!   This year we have red, green and gold Christmas crackers to snap at dinner, they came in the box from our aunt in Montreal.  I wonder what will be inside of my cracker?  Probably a crepe paper hat as usual.
On Christmas Eve Mom lets my little brother & I sleep in my bed, not that we plan on doing much sleeping.  This year I am going to stay awake and catch Santa eating the syrup and cake we’ve left for him.  Some of my friends don’t believe in Santa they say their Dad buys the gifts.  I know MY Dad isn’t Santa…. he’s always too busy painting the kitchen on Christmas Eve to deliver presents to the children all over the world.  My sister says it’s a wonder we don’t all choke in our beds from the paint fumes
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On Christmas night we go for a walk around town with Dad to see all the Christmas lights.  We don’t have a car, but that’s ok, I love walking with my Dad.  I like the sound of the snow crunching under my feet and listening to the Christmas carols played by the bells of Wesley Church.
On Boxing Day, we exchange gifts with our friends and relatives.  Our favorite part is when Uncle Doug comes for a visit, he’s not married and lives by himself up on the Brow.   He always makes everybody laugh and even though my mom says it’s because he’s always three sheets to the wind, we love him. He has plenty of candy in his pocket for the kids and always manages to slip some money into our hands when nobody is looking.
Adults go ‘mummering’ at Christmas, which means they dress up in costumes, knock on doors and if they’re lucky get asked in for drinks and a bit of a celebration.  We don’t go ‘mummering’, but my friends and I knock on neighbor’s doors and say “Can I see your Christmas tree?”   After oohing and aaahing over the tree, no matter what state it’s in, we’ll probably get offered some syrup and cake or maybe some candy.  I’ve had some bad stomach aches after a day of looking at Christmas trees.
The saddest part of Christmas is Old Christmas Day when the tree MUST come down; it’s bad luck to leave it up after that date you know.  Mom takes the decorations off the tree and puts them away in a special place… a place  known only to her and Santa.
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                           -Goldie Luckey 2010
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1 comment:

Anonymous said...

A lovely read and a Christmas, described, just the way I remembered it as a child!