I was born in St. John’s in the early ’50s, so my childhood memories of Christmas are from that time frame. My family was not well off and it was a struggle for my parents to raise us. But as I reflect on those memories,we were rich in so many other ways.
I don’t know how they managed to do it but I had the most wonderful Christmases. It was a magical time of year.
Who can forget the raffles on Water Street or the men who went around in their trucks selling Christmas trees? My mother would have them take just about every tree off the truck before she found the biggest and most perfect.
Everything in the house had to be stripped down. Curtains and walls washed, a piece of new canvas for the kitchen. The house had to be spick-and-span.
My mother’s fruit cakes, light and dark, were delicious. Whenever you visited someone you always got fruit cake and syrup. Before my mother passed away, she gave me the cast iron cake pot but I have never attempted to bake the fruitcake. All such precious memories.
We always had new pyjamas to be worn on Christmas Eve. If we had a new coat or any other new clothes they were worn Christmas Day when we went to mass at St. Teresa’s on Mundy Pond Road. You would see all the children walking to mass sporting something new if they were fortunate enough.
And our Christmas stocking, now that was a treasure in itself. I went to a Catholic school where we wore the long black stockings. This is what we hung up. It was filled with fruit and other treats but the one thing I remember most was the grapes. It was the only time of year we got them.
We watched all the special movies on TV. The ones I remember most are “Heidi” and “The Poor Little Match Girl.” Classics in themselves.
I am writing this article to remind myself and others who share the same memories, of a time that will never be again.
So for those of you whose parents have passed away, as mine have, take this Christmas season to remember them in a special way because they gave us more then they ever realized. Love and cherished memories. I was one of the fortunate ones.
To you Mom and Dad, Merry Christmas.
Marjorie (Vavasour) Seymour