This is a picture of my mother around Christmastime. Christmas was always a little brighter when she was around. She had a ‘heart of gold’ and a disposition to go with it. Wherever we lived, be it palace or barn, it was always better when she was there. She made it ‘Home’ wherever we lived, so I can never think of home, without thinking of her.
For Photo Challenge
Developing your eye, #1
My Aunt Wynne was a real dilly! There are other words that spring to mind but they are better left unsaid. My mother and Wynne were sisters and she would come to visit quite frequently. We kids ranged in ages from twelve down to five. There were four of us in all. We all liked Wynne mostly because she was a lot of fun and she always had a joke or story to tell us. A lot of which was something we should not be hearing, like swear words or sometimes titillating subjects, usually when my Mother was not around.
My Mother would chastise Wynne sometimes but it never bothered her and she would keep doing it and we would keep listening to her. Wynne didn’t listen very well especially when someone told her she could not do something. She was a flapper in the days when it was popular to be one. One time, she tried to teach us the Charleston but we never seemed to catch on. Occasionally, she would bring her current boyfriend and they usually brought goodies then, like ice cream or candy. That’s one of the reasons we liked her so much.
Wynne had a new boyfriend and she brought him to our house one time. He was a big, boisterous, Polish gentleman. His favorite food was potato pancakes which he would proceed to make whenever he came. They were one of the most delicious things I had ever tasted. Even today, I can make them without a recipe almost as good as he did.
He really made an impression on us kids and we looked forward to his visits. But alas, Wynne dropped him after going out for quite a while, much to our chagrin.
One Christmas which was particularly hard for us as Father had left us to go and stay with his Mother, leaving us in the lurch with no food or means to buy any. This seemed to be happening on a fairly regular basis. Since he had lost his job as a teacher and didn’t plan on looking for another job, we were pretty destitute. I suppose the responsibility was too great for him, supporting his family. So Mother was our only means of support and she had to take care of us kids.
Aunt Wynne, knowing that Mother was not going to be able to get us much or anything for Christmas, thought she was helping by telling us this story. It was only a few days before Christmas and like all kids we were expecting at least one present each.
So Wynne gathered us all around and began:
“You know kids, something bad has happened to Santa this year. The Police spotted him speeding in his car and they arrested him. So he is cooling his heels in jail right now and probably will be there through Christmas.
So sorry to say but Santa will not be able to deliver your presents this year.”
Tears started rolling down our faces, except twelve-year-old Anna, as she didn’t believe anymore. I was ten and beginning to waver but I still thought there may be a chance, so I was as devastated as the younger kids.
Just then mother came into the room and caught Wynne in the act and said to us, “Aunt Wynne was just kidding, Santa is not really in jail and you will still be getting a few presents although not many.”
We went to bed happy then and Aunt Wynne was banished from our house for a time. But over the years Aunt Wynne continued with her shenanigans and stories and while we never quite believed her anymore, it didn’t keep her from trying.
A Christmas Poem
Lattes and cookies and kitties with whiskers
Shopping for new clothes all a twitter
When the snow falls, when the cats meow
Brings a smile to my face somehow
When the wind blows and the rain falls
I find myself shopping at malls.
Cheeks are red and noses like cherries
Sweets are abundant, including the berries
The bears and cubs are now hibernating
As the world is slowly vibrating
Christmas season has passed and then
Another year will begin again.
Last Christmas – I start thinking about Christmas about a month before and what cards I will send to my nearest and dearest. The list is getting smaller each year. Because as I age and the years go on, people I care about are dying at an alarming rate. I noticed it more this year I think because my brother-in-law died in June and my sister followed him in October. Her death was the more shocking because it was totally unexpected. She had a heart attack, her first one ever and that was it. Where he had lung cancer for several months, which was short enough time but we still had time to prepare ourselves, if one can ever do that.
I was recently thinking about my best friend, Rose Marie because we send each other cards at Christmas and add a few notes to tell each other what has been happening in our lives. We went to catholic school together and graduated together, and after graduated, we partied together until she met her husband to be.
We were still close and the three of us would still go out dancing together. We loved to dance. We continued to go out together until I moved away to another state. They got engaged and then married. I also got married and started having children. Rose Marie was God Mother to my second child. Then I moved across the country to California.
So cards and letters were how we communicated. I went back to our hometown for reunions, at least three times, so we did see each other on those times but basically we kept in touch by the Christmas cards.
The Christmas before last, Rose Marie told me that she and her husband, (who have been married now forever it seems)are still going strong and they have a new great-grandchild who is two years old. I told her that I was doing fine, still painting when I find the time and the family was well, whether that was true or not.
The Christmas before that, I sent out the cards I had painted and received one from Rose Marie as usual. She had some minor surgery but was recuperating well. Her husband was also doing well and they were both, “still kicking,” as she put it. She mused about whether we would ever see each other again. I wondered as much myself but didn’t put it into words. I doubt it very much though.
The Christmas before that, I received the usual card from Rose Marie and she talked about the reunion a few years before that fell through because not only were there so few of us left, but of the ones that were, very few were interested in going to a reunion. I wasn’t sure I was up to going to that one anyway. Flying isn’t what it used to be. People going through your luggage, scanning you with wands and telling you to step aside so you can be searched. I used to enjoy flying but not anymore.
Rose Marie and I are still communicating by Christmas card and we pretty much know that we will not see each other again but we will always be friends.
For today’s post on Writing 101: Write a series of anecdotes that have a common theme.
This is for the 101 Writing Challenge to write a story in 50-100-150 words. If you are used to writing longer pieces,it is hard to do especially for me, as I tend to go on and on…….
I pared this down to 249 words. That was the best I could do.
It was right before Christmas when mother told us that Aunt Wynne was coming to visit. We really liked Aunt Wynne because she was funny and always acted like a kid herself. We couldn’t wait to see her.
The first words out of Aunt Wynne’s mouth were, “By the way, Santa will not be coming this year. He was arrested and is now in jail. So I guess none of you will be getting any presents on Christmas.”
My two younger sisters started crying. I was seven years old, and my older sister was nine. We were kind of on the borderline between believing and not believing, so I was trying to hold back the tears that were escaping despite my efforts.
My mother came in with cookies and lemonade and noticed the tears flowing. When she heard what Aunt Wynne was telling us, she got angry and demanded that Aunt Wynne recant her story. She said that she was only joking to see how we would react. Mother told us we would be getting presents on Christmas.
Aunt Wynne left shortly thereafter, and we did not see her on Christmas or for a long while after. We were very happy that Santa was not in jail and he would be visiting our house.
MERRY CHRISTMAS TO EVERYONE
This recipe is one of the all time favorites in our family. It has been handed down over the years in my family, starting with myself. I made them most every Christmas even before I had children. And then for years after I had a family, and we adopted the tradition, I continued to make them every Christmas. And now my children are making the cookies for their children and grandchildren. I got the recipe from my sister Anna originally, who got it from her mother-in-law, who was of German descent. And probably goes back a long way from her mother also.
This recipe is for half the original as the original is for so many cookies that you would be up all night baking otherwise. Depending on when you started of course. I recommend you start in the morning. Giving you a head start and with lots of energy. And also I do it in spurts. After everything is mixed and a ball is formed, you can let it sit (covered with a tea towel) in frig until you are ready to do the rolling out, cutting out and baking. They are certainly worth the effort though as you will get praise galore. Well you really should even if only for having the stamina to complete the job!
So onward we go with the recipe:
1/4 lb. butter or margarine
2 egg yolks
1/2 cup milk
1 1/8 cup sugar
1 1/4 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. (or more) Anise oil. (I like a lot of Anise oil so I use more)
3 cups (sifted) flour
Cream butter/margarine and sugar together. Butter/margarine should be soft. Add egg yolks, milk and Anise oil and mix. Add (sifted) flour and baking powder, one cup at a time and mix. Form into a ball (or two balls if you like) and refrigerate for 1/2 hour. Roll out to desired thickness (I like mine thick so they take a little longer to bake). Cut into shapes with Christmas cookie cutters. Grease baking sheet once and bake at 350 degrees for 5 – 7 minutes, the tops will be white but a little brown on the bottom.
Icing: Beat egg whites that you separated and saved from yolks, until stiff. Add 1/2 box confection sugar, (1) drop Anise oil, ((1) pinch of salt (optional). Enjoy! Don’t put icing on until cookies are cool. You can also put the colored sprinkles on top of icing if you prefer.