Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Christmas Past...There Were Good Memories Despite...

I know in a previous article, I wrote about many Christmas's that weren't too nice.  But, I have to be fair and mention the flip side.  It seems like every holiday invokes memories of our childhood...some that are dear to our heart, some that make us feel like a kid again, if only for a moment.  Here are some of my fond memories that I think of every Christmas holiday...and we're talking 50 years plus...

There were a lot of Christmas Eve's that my dad would make dinner.  The menu included his salad with his homemade dressing, shrimp cocktail, twice baked potatoes and filet mignon broiled with a large mushroom cap on top.  It was quite a treat.

Many years my family got our Christmas tree from Goldblatt's department store in Niles.  They had an outdoor area filled with live trees, and when you walked in, it smelled like heaven. 

My mom had a dear friend, Clark, who owned Clark's Florist and Gifts.  It was on the north side of Chicago, and let me tell you, it was the most elegant florist/gift shop.  It wasn't just a florist, and it wasn't just a gift shop...it was sublime!  To walk through was like walking through an upscale interior-designed indoor garden.  Mr. Clark, as we kids called him, had quite the knack for design and décor.  Even though this was back in the 60's, I STILL remember how absolutely lovely everything was...his taste was exquisite.  Mr. Clark had a standard apricot poodle, named Angelique, and she wore a rhinestone-studded collar..she was a love.  Since my mom was also a floral arranger, they had a good friendship.  Every Christmas Mr. Clark had a holiday open house, and you had to be invited, and yes, we were.  I remember getting all dressed up...well, it was just the highlight of the season.  There were hors d'oeuvres, gifts...gosh, it was grand, opulent, chic...just over the top.  When a place is as beautiful as his shop was, the memories don't leave you, even after 50 years.

My parents would take us downtown at night right before Christmas, and there was only one store we went to...Marshall Field's. Their windows were decorated to the hilt, with moving people, animals, you name it.  We would walk window to window to view the different scenes in each.  It was quite a treat, and we would stand there, just mesmerized.

There were many shows we watched on TV during the holiday season.  Andy Williams, Perry Como, Mitch Miller, Mr. Magoo's Christmas, Lawrence Welk...now I'm really dating myself. 

Back in the day, there was only one kind of Christmas light to put on the tree...the colored bulb kind, most everyone decorated with tinsel, and if you had a fake tree, it was aluminum that was silver, and there was a colored dial that would light the tree blue, pink, green and back to silver.  Do any of you remember this?  There were train sets and etch-a-sketch and candyland.  Now there's ipods, flat screen TV's and blue tooth...where did the time go?

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