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One Photo; One Story: Christmas 1970

I can put myself here in my mind right now, Christmas Eve 1970.

Music fills the air from the old Magnavox that monstrously ate up half our living room. Burl Ives, Dean Martin, Johnnie Mathis, and Big Crosby. The soundtrack from the most expensive treasure we owned.

It smelled like a high fidelity masterpiece and sounded as warm as a mother’s hug. It’s a sound I haven’t heard since or felt.

I used to slide open the console and breath it in and watch the record turn. I’d get lost in the spiral and drift off into the orchestration and journey.

Here my beautiful mother Mary had us in our matching Christmas pajamas. She always had her trusty Kodak. She arranged us in this order for a nice Christmas photo. It lasted only minutes before silliness erupted.

Dad trying to relax from untangling the massive ball of lights and longing for peace and quiet yells; “Alright!! Will. Ya. Shut. UPPPPP”.

We try to burn off excess energy and find the “hiding place” or wait for Santa. My youngest sister is sleeping in the crib unaware of the Christmas anticipation in the years to come.

Our favorite holiday television shows were new. Charlie Brown, Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer (and the Norelco commercial where the elves used electric shavers to sled downhill), Frosty, and The Grinch all aired once and if you missed it, sorry next year kiddos on CBS.

Dad would bust out laughing every time he dropped his “Don’t get too close to that fireplace!” joke; if we wandered near the No. 1100 electric cardboard hearth with spinning flames. We had it for years. Our tree was as fake as the fireplace. We considered a silver aluminum one, but Mom vetoed that.

If there was a leg of lamb defrosting it meant Grandma and Grandpa were coming on Christmas Day and we’d get an extra present like a comb or something.

Christmas cards from relatives, friends, and Dad’s old army buddies, would hang on the laundry line tacked up over what Nana called “the parlor”, for us all to read. I never knew most of them, but each one garnered one of dad’s stories.

I love this photo.

Anything I find on the old Kodachrome paper transports me to when Mom and Dad were young and built their lives around us. At times we didn’t have much, but we had everything.

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