In 1943 I was ten years old, and one of six children in a poor family. At that age, who knew? We ate well with a large garden and we received new clothes at Easter and Christmas. Things were pretty good. My two older brothers were out of the house and serving in World War II. I was the youngest son and of my three sisters the youngest was Carmella. She was two years younger than I.
On Christmas morning Carmella and I woke early; we shared a small bedroom in bunk beds. We rushed out to the front room to see the new Christmas tree and presents. It was not put up early this year for some reason. However when we entered the room, there was no tree and no presents. We stood not knowing what to do. Well, we shot down to my mother’s bedroom and asked, “Where’s the tree?”
She got out of bed, “Get get ready for church and never mind the tree.”
But we cried, “Without the tree, Santa won’t come with presents.”
Again, Mom told us to get cleaned up and ready for church. So we did as we were told.
I took my sister to church walking the three blocks and sat fidgeting all thru mass. On the way back we were sure there was going to be a surprise when we got home. They would surely put up the tree while we were in church and the presents would be there. We ran all the way back, rushed up the front steps and looked into the front room window. No tree — no presents — we were devastated!
With tears in our eyes we walked around the house to the back door and into the kitchen. We just looked at our mom. She sternly told us to stop crying, change out of our good clothes and shoes into our everyday clothes, and come eat breakfast. We did as we were told and sadly ate our meal.
After we finished, Mom said, “You’ve been pretty good this year so why don’t you two go upstairs for now.” You see we lived in a small two family house and at that time there were no tenants. Up we ran and to our amazement there was the most beautiful Christmas tree we had ever seen and Santa had surely come, for there were our presents.
After seventy years, it turned out to be our most memorable Christmas. I don’t see Carmella as often as I should, but when I do we always remember that Christmas.
Publishing Editor’s Note: I welcome Frank to our family of authors and know you will enjoy his personal story of Christmas. Please contact Frank through this site. Merry Christmas!