It’s That Time of Year

I may be crazy, but I’m already listening to Christmas music. Not 24/7 – that probably won’t happen until mid-November – but at work, I sometimes put my Dean Martin Christmas station on Pandora and I am immediately relaxed.

There’s something about Christmas carols from the 1950s and ’60s that just puts me at ease and makes my heart happy. It could be that I secretly feel like I belong in the 1940s and ’50s, but I’m sure it’s the fact that many of these are the songs I grew up listening to while preparing and waiting for Christmas.

I hear Nat King Cole or Andy Williams and I picture my parents’ house with the Christmas tree up and decorated, the fireplace decorated, and the entire family room full of Christmas decorations, and I instantly feel cozy and at peace. I hear the Lionel train racing around the track, blowing its whistle, and I smell that distinctive smell of the train smoke. I picture my Mom in the kitchen rolling out dough for us to make cut-out cookies with. I feel the content of sitting on the sofa with my family and watching Rudolph or A Charlie Brown Christmas.

I hear “A Marshmallow World” by Dean Martin and I laugh as I picture my aunt, who at her Christmas party a few years ago, did the same hilarious motion each time Dean sang “…get out and roll it along…”.

I hear Frank Sinatra sing “Jingle Bells” or “Mistletoe and Holly” and I picture my Nana’s house at Christmas, and her kitchen (because that’s where we spent the most time with her) and I feel comfort. But at the same time, there is a pang of sadness…I’ll never have a Thanksgiving, December, or Christmas at Nana’s house. And how fitting…just as I type this “The Christmas Waltz” by Frank Sinatra starts to play and tears instantly come to my eyes.

Oh, the joy and heartache of Christmas carols!

Storytime with Mickey

While thinking back on favorite childhood toys, I couldn’t help but remember my Talking Mickey Mouse. I LOVED him! I thought this was the coolest thing, and being only 2 or 3 years old, I thought it really was Mickey Mouse!

 

Mickey came with different story books and each book had a corresponding cassette, which you put into his back. When you turned Mickey on, he would read the story to you! There were sound effects, and other character voices. I didn’t realize until recently that there was also a Talking Goofy which could be hooked up by a special cord to Mickey, and the two would talk to each other! Mickey’s mouth moved as he spoke, and his eyes even blinked! It was seriously one of the neatest toys I had growing up. Unfortunately, I’m pretty sure I lost one of the books and its cassette…I wonder if I can find those without the Mickey on eBay??

 

The Joys of Summer

I absolutely love summer. I can deal with fall because it’s cozy and there’s football to get you through the long weeks, spring is always so refreshing, and winter means Christmas (but as soon as Christmas is over, winter should be, too). But the best season has always been summer for me.

I live for the days when I can just wake up and have a leisurely breakfast, go for a walk whenever I feel like, and spend the day at my parents’ lounging by the pool, book in hand. After dinner, why not go for an ice cream? Then come home, maybe read a little more, or maybe put a movie on – there’s no hurry to shower and get to bed!

It’s not just the daily activities that I love so much, it’s the sounds, too. As I sit on my parents’ back porch, I hear a neighbor weed-whacking, someone else hammering, birds chirping, dogs barking, the waterfall in my dad’s pond, and every so often when the breeze blows, the wind chimes in the tree. These are the sounds of my summer and have been all my life. It breaks my heart for many reasons to hear my parents talk (not too seriously yet) about selling the house, and one of those reasons is that summers wouldn’t be the same. I know that no matter what house my parents live in, they’d make it a home and make it something special, but this is the only home I’ve known. Does that make any sense?

Thinking back on summers growing up, I remember many summer days at my grandparents’ house (mom’s parents), spending the day with our Nana in the pool in their backyard. We’d often sleep over, just because we wanted to, and spend at least 10 minutes laughing hysterically for no good reason as she put us to bed. That was after my bedtime snack of Oreos and milk, of course. In the mornings, she’d make us breakfast and we’d put our bathing suits on and start the day out at the pool. Sometimes, I’d stay inside for awhile and play with my mom’s old Barbie and Midge and her Barbie Dream House (I loved it!) while my sister watched old cartoons or movies. When it was lunchtime, Nana would make us grilled cheese sandwiches cut into fourths, with chips and mini pickles, or Jimmy Dean sausage sandwiches. After the “necessary” half hour of digestion, it was back to the pool to play mermaids. This always required much discussion before play could even begin; obviously, it was extremely important to go over your entire appearance as a mermaid and your new mermaid name. ” I’m going to be Leslie and my fin is purple at the top and it turns blue at the bottom, and there are sparkles in it. And my ‘bathing suit top’ is yellow, ok?” Then you had to explain who your prince was and what he looked like! Though usually, our princes were our crushes of the moment – JTT for Erin, Troy Aikman for me (clearly I went for older men). Troy was always somehow trapped belowdecks of some ship anchored near my kingdom, and I could see him through the porthole (aka the pool light), where I promised to help him escape. Oh, the fun of childhood imagination and the joys of summer!