A New Old Christmas Story

A Christmas Story
A Christmas Story
My sister Patty, My niece Karen and myself about 1958
My sister Patty, My niece Karen and myself about 1958

Merry Christmas

I grew up poor. There I said it and it is out in the open. Big deal. Many of us did, We moved around many times as I grew up. In my sixth year in school I went to four different schools in a small town that only had five. The standard dress for a boy then was blue jeans and a tee shirt. Girls wore dresses or a skirt and blouse. Sometimes tennis shoes. Some times dress shoes. No one that I knew wore high fashion clothes. When we viewed kids our age on the television they even dressed like us. Never once was my family homeless nor did we ever not have food on the table. We also never got assistance from the government. Yes my mother did go down once to the county trustee, stood in line and got a loaf of cheese product ( it looked like Velveta ) and a bag of flour. My older sister told her about it, She went once, but never again. They were in very plane packaging with the words United States stamped on them and the word Flour on the bag and Cheese stamped on the box. Never did a welfare check hit the mailbox nor was it asked for.

My father died when I was four and a half and my mother re-married when I was ten. He had a kid of his own my age and he had to support him plus his ex-wife. The kid played the drum and always needed new sticks and cymbals and drums. Christmas for us was tight. We always had a tree and a Christmas dinner just not the presents and gifts part. My sister and I always had at least one present though. Our older sister seen to that. I didn't really mind that much but when I returned to school after Christmas break you had to hear about everyone else' s Christmas extravaganza. I usually lied and made up a few gifts that I got so that no one knew. Thinking back probably many children did the same. Now as I watch the movie Christmas Story every year as one must do when you are my age I see all the presents under Ralph's tree and say "Not in my Neighborhood.". What I really want to say is that It was fine. I grew up got married and didn't get my gun and climb up some tower and shoot all the town folks down. No one came to the door from the county to give us anything. It wasn't needed or wanted I know that it was a different time or era. I don't look down at people receiving Welfare, but I think many people who do receive it shouldn't. That is my opinion for what it is worth. Merry Christmas one and all. Enjoy Christmas for the real reason for it.

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