Sunday, December 21, 2008


It's the winter solstice.

Is this a festival, I wonder? It’s -2 degrees. Lord, what could be gloomier? And in just four days...four will be Christmas.

David Lodge's Deaf Sentence has some hilarious Christmas scenes, told in the form of a diary. It will cheer you up as much as a hot toddy (especially if you take meds, and are by necessity a teetotaller.)

So, anyway, I'm drinking herbal tea and trying to think cheerfully about Xmas. Here are some innocuous Christmas memories over the decades, showing that Christmas isn't ALL bad. (Though really, don't you hate those Dickens books?)

1964: there is a photograph of me, twinkling through my cat-shaped glasses, wearing an olive-green dress with fishnet stockings, so I obviously didn't mind getting dressed up on Christmas Eve. If I got the dress from Sears I'd begged for, I wore It. I also wore the impractical fishnet stockings, even in winter (think -2 degrees): Care about the cold? No, be cool. we wanted to look like Twiggy, or the Revlon girl, or someone.

The unwrapped gifts were kept in my mother’s closet, so it was impossible not to know what we were getting. Was this the year of the Barbie dream house? Or the Tammy house? This was the year of Tammy, a kind of alternative to Barbie (here is a photo of Tammy and her sister Pepper: I also had the Tammy house, cardboard with folding cardboard furniture, and Pepper's treehouse made of plastic.) Relieved, our mothers practically embraced Tammy, who, unlike Barbie, seemed like a nice, NORMAL girl.

There were also books: A Wrinkle in Time, E. Nesbit's books, etc.

1975: rabbit stew and no gifts. Friends and guests indulged in a drunken debauchery, so I got stuck cooking. Only immense irritation could have gotten me through that Julia Child recipe. I had to channel Julia Child, which is not easy when one is a non-cook. After dinner a Russian sang and accompanied himself on a guitar-like thing, which I should have appreciated. Instead, I wandered off into another room., leaving the drunks to drink and sing. The sober ones followed me. My excuse: exhaustion.

1982: we traveled; no gift exchange; doughnuts for breakfast and dinner at a steak house, the only restaurant open in town. I did receive a copy of Keats.

1990s and 2000s: we did the whole Christmas thing, complete with expensive presents. I suppose this shows we are finally adults.

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