I grew up in southern Ohio. Dayton, to be exact. And Christmas was always a very big deal at our house.
Memories include making homemade caramels with Mom. The kind you cooked on the stove and then wrapped up in wax paper. Wrap one, eat one, wrap one, eat one, until you were caught. And Daddy’s popcorn balls that we kids couldn’t help with cause the syrup was so hot. And the chocolate fudge. Oh boy, I’m gaining weight just thinking about it.
It wasn’t just food either. We always went downtown to Rike’s department store to see the windows. Glorious animated figures in winter and holiday scenes. Different every year. Rike’s was one of the big stores in Dayton, along with Elder-Berman’s, neither of which is still around today. Recently I was back in Dayton. I visited the theater center downtown which happens to be on the property where Rike’s stood. This what is looks like inside. Marvelous architecture.
And they have re-furbished and preserved some of the animated scenes and put them on display. Each scene is inside a giant case set up to look like a window. I spent quite a while peering into them. There’s so much detail.
And they even brought back the best part of going to Rike’s during the holiday season. Tike’s Gift Shop. It was a room set up especially for children to go shopping for their family. The doorway was about 4 feet high so no adults were allowed. Store clerks assisted us in purchasing just the right thing for mom and dad. I believe nothing cost over $1.oo And they gift wrapped the presents so the folks would be just as surprised as we were on Christmas morning.
Another great story from my life is about the year we got the piano. I wanted a piano badly. I had been taking dance lessons and wanted to change to an instrument. So that year, I think I was 8 or 9, my parents bought one. But didn’t tell me. It was to be a complete surprise. I ran down the stairs Christmas morning and there it was. I could not speak. (I know, I know, …ME?) It wasn’t possible. We did have a fireplace, but how on earth had Santa got it down the chimney? Well it turns out, the night before we had gone to the 11:00p.m. Christmas Eve church service like we always did. When we got home, I was tired, almost asleep on my feet. My mom walked me through the house with me on her left side, my dad had my brother on his left side, (the piano being on the right side of the room) and they walked us up the stairs without us seeing what had been delivered while we were gone.
I took lessons for three years and no I can’t play without HOURS of practice. So don’t ask.
Christmas is still a special time for me. It means family and giving and kids squealing with joy. And food, Lots of food.
You can look forward to my next post entitled “My Exercise Routine.” LOL