You may have a vision of Lindy and I sitting around like two Pitiful Pearls on Christmas. I wouldn’t be surprised that you might picture that based on some of the experiences we’ve recounted here. But in fact, nothing could be further from the truth. Whether because of all the Ladies Home Journal articles she had read or her miserable childhood, Mother liked to give gifts and make sure Santa Claus was very good to us.
While it’s true that when we were little, most of the “gifts” she gave were toys confiscated from us months before and then “gifted” back to us on the big day, as the years went by every Christmas there would be wonderful things Lindy and I had specifically mentioned to the Santa Claus we visited in Central Park.
One year I wanted a doll with a hat and coat. Mother later claimed that she looked high and low and couldn’t find one until the day before Christmas when she passed by a toy shop that had a Madame Alexander doll in the window wearing a hat and coat. The doll had been reduced in price and so she was able to obtain my dearest wish for that year.
Another year, Lindy wanted roller skates and Mary claimed she walked the leather off her shoes looking for those skates. The next year, Lindy wanted a doll with pink hair and Mary magically made that appear as well.
Later on, when Dad married Beatrice, Lindy and I hit the jackpot. There were three Christmas celebrations for us, each filled with an assortment of gifts to make the guilt of being children of divorce go away. We started with Mary, who tried to have the most requested gifts at her home. Then we moved over to Dad’s where a mountain of gifts awaited us. Dad started a tradition of taking four airplane bottles of liquor and wrapping a hundred dollar bill around each. We all looked forward to Dad’s little money gift.
Finally it was on to Beatrice’s mother’s home where this wonderful woman made sure all of her grandchildren (Lindy and I included) received the same big gift. One year she got each of us a winter coat in our favorite color. She always made sure we had lots of fun little stuff too, and we enjoyed going to her house for one of the three Christmas celebrations.
As a result of all this gift-giving, Lindy and I are accustomed to lots of gifts. Since Charles and John are not the world’s best shoppers, wrappers, or givers, my sister and I have “had” to shower one another with gifts. For example, this year Lindy arrived for Thanksgiving with several enormous bags of presents. I am not as organized, but I will be taking equally large packages to her home on Christmas. It may sound silly, but, like Mother, we like a big Christmas!