It is my earliest memory. I was two years old, and my family was gathered for Christmas at my Grandma's house.
My Grandma, Daddy's mama, was the only grandparent I ever knew. Both of Mama's parents had died when she was a little girl, and Daddy's father had died long, long ago. For my Daddy, I was a seriously late-in-life baby - he was 54 when I was born, so for Grandma, I must have been a very exciting little treat. Until I came along, she only had one grandchild, my cousin Keith (Margaret Keith, but everybody calls her Keith), who was already 16 when I was born.
I remember very little about Grandma, except that she was very snuggly and liked to hug. And she must have been extremely indulgent, because I clearly remember playing tea party with my dolls on her bed, using all of her good china and silver. In my memory, the bed was about as high as my eyes, and I carefully arranged all of the dishes around the bed, then climbed up and had tea with my dollies. Don't you love that she trusted me to play with the "good stuff"? And it's a good thing for me that I was worthy of her trust, because I inherited all of this very china and silver!
That Christmas, we all gathered at Grandma's house to open presents and have Christmas dinner - Mama, Daddy, Uncle Paul, Aunt Mary Frances, Cousin Keith. Uncle Francis may have even been in town from New York City, but I don't remember that.
The thing I most remember, was that for Christmas that year, Santa had brought me a gorgeous new doll. She had beautiful, long, golden braids, blue eyes and wore a cute blue mini-dress and blue tights. I had decided to name her...Homadarlin.
"Hmmm..." you say, "that's a very odd name, Gretchen." Perhaps I should explain.
At that time in my life, my very most favorite cartoon was...
Huckleberry Hound, that sweet, hapless, easy-going, Southern-drawling sheriff dog. For those of you who were too lazy to watch the video, Huckleberry Hound had a trademark song, which he sang all the time - Clementine. Remember that song? "Oh my darling, oh my darling, oh my daaaaaahrling Clementine..."
Well, little 2-year old me, used to go around singing the song all the time too, but apparently, I got the lyrics a little confused, and never realized that the girl's name was Clementine, I thought he was singing "Homadarlin, homadarlin..." and that was her name.
So that Christmas, I clearly remember going around and showing all the adults my new doll and telling them her name, and they all laughed and laughed and made me sing the song over and over (which for a little actress-in-the-making, was terribly exciting!), and I thought that they must think I was VERY special and a VERY good singer, but of course, now I know that they just thought it was hysterical that I thought the girl's name was Homadarlin.
I'm afraid that was my last Christmas with my one and only Grandma. She passed away the next April.
But, oh look at who is STILL spending Christmas with me...
Her hair is no longer shiny, her blue eyes are filled with dolly cataracts and her skin has taken on a peculiar yellowish tone, but she still wears her groovy blue mini-skirt and spiffy tights. Here she is having a tea party on the bed with Grandma's china...
On that note, I wish you all a very Merry Christmas, a Happy Hanukkah, a Wonderful Winter Solstice, and may this year create beautiful memories for all of you!
Don't forget our other Christmas past sharers...
Stacy at Stacy Uncorked - NEW on FRIDAY!
Nain at View From Down Here - NEW on FRIDAY!
Janice at I Got Nothing - NEW on SATURDAY!
Next week on The Spin Cycle...
NADA. That's right, I am officially taking a vacation until the end of the year!
I need the break to spend some time writing a project I'm working on. I will try to do some thinking on how to improve things around here. Any input from any of you is most welcome!
Check back the last week of December and I'll post something for the new year. Maybe my resolution will be to improve the Spin Cycle!
Have a fabulous vacation!!!