Family, friends and sweet memories.

Old typewriter and Santa Claus hat on desk

Only one more “sleep” until Santa arrives here in North America.  For some of my blogging pals, Santa has visited and left, like for John in Sweden, where Christmas is celebrated on December 24th.

Do you believe?

Christmas was so much more fun when you believed in Santa Claus.  The first time I saw the Jolly Old Elf, I was just 8 months old.  My parents took me downtown to Eaton’s or Simpsons in Toronto to get my picture taken with Santa.

First Christmas

When I was a little older, I’d get bundled up to go downtown with my father.  We’d make a day of it.  We’d watch the Eaton’s Santa Claus Parade, visit all the animated displays in the storefront windows, then head over to see Santa Claus.

The visit with Santa was the most important stop of the day, because I had already written to him and I’d want to ensure he got my letter and would bring that coveted dolly or pram.  Here I am sitting in the Big Man’s chair while he was on break … yes, the anticipation for our visit was just killing me!

Santa Chair1.JPG

The last time I saw Santa Claus was Christmas 1985.  No, I wasn’t there to sit on his knee and ask for a dolly that time.  We had driven to Toronto to celebrate my grandmother’s 80th birthday in mid-November.  A few weeks later, a concerned neighbor of hers contacted my mom and said “Minnie’s not looking too good, she’s so pale and seems weak – perhaps you and Linda should come over to see her at Christmas.”  My mom was surprised at this and said “we were just over there for her birthday.”  After she hung up, my mom called my grandmother and asked how she was feeling.  “I’m okay” was the answer.

But that phone call from the kindly neighbor was still worrisome.

I don’t like driving in Winter, and because I took the bus to school and work for decades, and now work from home, I’ve never had to sharpen my Winter driving skills.  However, Christmas 1985, according to the weatherman, was promised to be clear and dry with no snowstorms, so Mom called my grandmother and said “we’re coming for Christmas to see you” and off we went two days later.

Nanny at Christmas.jpg

It would be the last Christmas we spent with my grandmother as she passed away the following month.

My grandmother only had a few days to plan for our visit.  She would not be bustling around, especially as to food preparation, so …  it didn’t matter if we gave her a month’s notice, or a day’s notice, … we would either dine on pot roast or ham … most likely ham.  It was always a joke in our family that anyone going to visit Minnie could always count on a hug, a kiss and a ham sandwich.  There was always a ham in the fridge – as soon as you walked in the door, the kettle was filled to make a pot of tea and out came the ham and a loaf of bread and the sweet butter to soften up.  A few thick slices of ham, a dab of honey mustard and you were handed a sandwich, so you were all set.  In the sweets department, there was always a package or two of butter tarts, a Canadian staple, tucked away in the fridge.  It was always this way, whenever we visited my grandmother.  That Christmas, my mom would supply extra sweets, after she raided our cookie-filled canisters – we weren’t going to be home to eat them anyway.

Now, here’s the backstory

My grandmother grew up on a farm in Ariss, Ontario.  It was a rural town near the bigger city of Guelph.  She had eight siblings.  Through the years, my grandmother would recount how every Christmas Eve, a local farmer would dress up like Santa and go from farm to farm, distributing toys to all the kids.  Their parents had already visited “Santa” (a/k/a George Moro) in advance, with the wrapped presents for him to produce at his visit to their home.

That tradition continued long after my grandmother and her siblings moved out, married and started their own families.  They would return to the farm every year at Christmas and a much-older George Moro would still arrive bearing gifts.  My mom and grandmother both said it was a fond memory of their Christmases growing up and I even heard how my mom, once she got a little older, turned to George Moro one time and said “you’re not Santa; you’re George Moro!”  My grandmother rushed the precocious Pauline out of the room, and she got a lickin’ and when asked why she said such a thing, my mom simply said “I recognized his laced-up high boots and he always smells of liniment!”

That was one of those stories that was told, and retold over the years.  Many times I’d turn to my mother and grandmother and say “how come we never had a George Moro – you know … one of those kindly neighbors that dressed up like Santa and came to visit on Christmas Eve?  I feel I had a deprived childhood!”

Well, for Christmas 1985, my grandmother may not have done much in the meal preparation department, but she called in a few favors and arranged for a visit from Santa’s family on Christmas Eve.

Knock-knock.  Who’s there?

We had finished our Christmas Eve dinner and treats and were sitting in the living room complaining how stuffed we were, when a knock came at the door.  My grandmother sent me to answer it.  It was dark outside, so she warned me “Linda – don’t open the door unless you know who it is!”

The “knocker” was none other than Santa Claus, accompanied by his Missus and an Elf.

Hmm.

Forgetting all about safety, not to mention the fact that only women were in the house, and, without a care in the world, I flung open the door and said “well, c’mon in!”

Mistle whoa!

So, Santa and his sidekicks strolled into the living room.  My grandmother had her usual Christmas decorations up and I had indeed noticed a sprig or two of mistletoe.

Well, Santa honed right in on that mistletoe.

Linda and Santa.JPG

Good thing Mom or Mrs. Claus grabbed the pocket camera to get some pictures.

Santa and Elf

Linda Mom Santa and Elf.JPG

Nanny and Santa 1.JPG

Nanny and Santa.JPG

SANTA 1.jpg

So, there you see it – evidence of my first and last visit with Old Saint Nick.

But wait … there’s more!

I’ve got a moral dilemma.

So, last week I did a lengthy post about Christmas cookies past and present, while mentioning some of the cookies Mom baked every year. Well, I’ve been nibbling away on those Archway and Pepperidge Farm cookies, and this morning my good friend Ann Marie dropped off two plates of homemade Christmas goodies:  kolaches and candy cane cookies.

Cookies.jpg

Aah, candy cane cookies … long the staple of my childhood and beyond, and I had just written, even dreamed about, the sweet memories I attached to those candy cane cookies.  And here they were again, sitting there, just waiting for me to indulge in them!

So, here’s my dilemma.  Tonight before I go to bed … do I leave out a plate of the store-bought cookies, or do I leave Santa some of Ann Marie’s scrumptious treats?

I really hate to part with the good stuff, but he IS Santa after all.

About lindasschaub

This is my first blog and I enjoy writing each and every post immensely. I started a walking regimen in 2011 and decided to create a blog as a means of memorializing the people, places and things I see on my daily walks. I have always enjoyed people watching, and so my blog is peppered with folks I meet, or reflections of characters I have known through the years. Often something piques my interest, or evokes a pleasant memory from my memory bank, and this becomes a “slice o’ life” blog post that day. I respect and appreciate nature and my interaction with Mother Nature’s gifts is also a common theme. Sometimes the most-ordinary items become fodder for points to ponder over and touch upon. My career has been in the legal field and I have been a legal secretary for over three decades, primarily working in downtown Detroit, and now working from my home. I graduated from Wayne State University with a degree in print journalism in 1978, although I’ve never worked in that field. I like to think this blog is the writer in me finally emerging!! Walking and writing have met and shaken hands and the creative juices are flowing once again in Walkin’, Writin’, Wit & Whimsy – hope you think so too.
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40 Responses to Family, friends and sweet memories.

  1. Pingback: Twas The Night – Proscenium

  2. Ann Marie stevens says:

    Miss Linda…………………………..I enjoyed your family memories of your grandmother and her family traditions………………………..you are a good writer……………enjoyable to read……………….I’m glad you like the cookies

    Liked by 1 person

    • lindasschaub says:

      I am glad you liked the memories and this story Ann Marie. I was going to just do the Santa Claus part and call it “Here Comes Santa Claus” and, when I got your cookies, I decided to change the entire title and be sure to add “friends and sweet memories”. They were delicious. Thank you again for thinking of me.

      Like

  3. thank you for sharing your memories,

    Liked by 1 person

    • lindasschaub says:

      You’re welcome Andy – I love looking at old pictures and am happy that I digitized mine last year … the project is far from complete though … many album pages with 6-8 images on one page, but it has been a fun lookback.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Linda, I may not have been the John you referred to but I have spent Christmas in Sweden. Christmas Eve, you start to watching Old American Cartoons at about two or three in the afternoon. Then at about 6:00, there is a break where they draw the Lottery and that is when you open presents and eat your meal. At about 8:00 An American Christmas Classic is aired, and then you go to bed. I loved Christmas in Sweden.

    Liked by 1 person

    • lindasschaub says:

      Hi John – no, actually I was referring to John of The Photobloggers. https://www.thephotobloggers.com/
      John is a Swedish photographer and told me the other day that they celebrate Christmas on Christmas Eve. I didn’t know that. He does some nature photography, also life, scenery in/around where he lives. That is an interesting way to spend Christmas in Sweden. I was in Sweden too but it was in the Summertime, just for a few days though, as part of a Scandinavia/U.S.S.R. tour. Merry Christmas.

      Like

  5. ruthsoaper says:

    Thanks for sharing your memories, Linda. The pictures are great.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Good memories and it’s great to have a friend who bakes!

    Liked by 1 person

    • lindasschaub says:

      Thanks – it is so fun to look back now that I’ve digitized my pictures … they are still untweaked though and I have to tweak them as I go along … sometimes multiple images on one page. Yes it is very nice and Ann Marie brought over Buckeyes this morning. I will waddle soon! I did walk six miles today so that helped. We had beautiful weather – sun was out, a little cold at 28 but clear as a bell. Parts of SE Michigan have snow squalls now and very slippery. I think we are lucking out from what I can tell.

      Liked by 1 person

  7. Christmas (or holidays in general) do bring back all kinds of memories. Your stories are lovely. 💖

    Liked by 1 person

    • lindasschaub says:

      Thank you very much Sabine – I do enjoy telling them and I decided I’d do the Santa story this year … I have mentioned dolls or toys I had in prior blogs, but these pictures were relatively recent than when I was a kid. I am so glad I digitized all these photos as it will be easier to delve into the past for my blog posts down the line, especially for holidays. As an only child, there are a ton of pictures of me growing up.

      Liked by 1 person

  8. My advice, though not needed now, would be to leave the store-bought cookies out for Santa. He, of all people, would understand your need to eat the goodies made especially for you. Merry Christmas to Ann Marie!

    Liked by 1 person

    • lindasschaub says:

      That’s what I thought too Anne … and this morning she brought over some Buckeyes so after I came home from walking and taking pictures for three hours, I was starving … I was bad! I don’t think Santa noticed they were store-bought cookies. Did Nathaniel make some special treats for Santa – he would be expecting them at your house you know?

      Like

      • Nathaniel cooked dinner for us on Christmas Eve and prepared eggnog. I should have told him to leave out a glass of the eggnog for Santa.

        Liked by 1 person

      • lindasschaub says:

        You are spoiled with Nathaniel there – safe travels to him, hopefully he didn’t catch the “family cold”? Yes, Santa would like a glass of egg nog after eating all those cookies!

        Like

      • Nathaniel felt ill one night and slept late the next morning. He’s hanging on. I hope he gets to his dad’s house before he gets worse. I don’t think they have a lot planned.

        Liked by 1 person

      • lindasschaub says:

        That’s good – well he probably was up late for finals and finishing off school before he left – are they on trimesters or do they finish up in January. When I was at Henry Ford, we were on semesters so when friends were done with school and had all Christmas break to enjoy themselves, I worked at Christmas, which would have been fine as I got out at 3:00 p.m., but I had final exams and papers all due the first two weeks of January – ugh. Hope Nathaniel is in good shape to travel and can get some R&R there as well.

        Like

      • Nathaniel didn’t talk about going back to exams, so I think he is free to enjoy himself over the break. I remember working on term papers at our break. Not humane!

        Liked by 1 person

      • lindasschaub says:

        Lucky Nathaniel – yes some of the colleges/universities have almost a month off. I know Evelyn is off from the first week of December until the day after MLK’s birthday. It’s not a complete break at the holidays when you have papers looming and studying to do!

        Liked by 1 person

  9. What wonderful memories and pictures too! I think you should have left Santa some of both kinds of cookies! What a nice surprise to get two plates of cookies!

    Liked by 1 person

    • lindasschaub says:

      Thanks Diane and Ann Marie brought over Buckeyes yesterday – it is always a nice surprised for you and me both. Next year I’ll leave Santa both kinds!

      Liked by 1 person

      • You are a lucky lady! Sounds like you have such great friends. 😀

        Liked by 1 person

      • lindasschaub says:

        You would like Ann Marie Diane – she has to be the kindest soul I have ever known. I tell her I feel like a sloth next to her … she is 76 years old and involved in all kinds of charitable activities – spends all day Monday at a soup kitchen, volunteers at a nursing home one afternoon a week, teaches Sunday School and is active at her church, and she drives her friends and neighbors to appointments when it is bad weather or they can’t do so themselves. She even wipes the snow off the cars/shovels everyone’s car out and makes a path from each apartment all Winter because the plow doesn’t come til afternoon. She was an elementary teacher and only retired about three years ago. She used to walk at Council Point Park, but moved to an apartment in a nearby city, so I don’t see her as often now.

        Like

  10. Laurie says:

    Those cookies look so yummy! I hope you did NOT leave them for Santa. Loved seeing the pictures of you and Santa. That mistletoe will get you in trouble every time! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • lindasschaub says:

      They were yummy and Ann Marie brought by some Buckeyes on Christmas morning. Nope, I left the store-bought cookies for Santa instead – kept the good stuff for me. I liked looking at those pictures from long ago. That was a fun evening – they didn’t stay long so they may have been making the rounds to other houses. They left and my grandmother said “I hope you’re happy as you always wanted a Santa to come visit on Christmas Eve!” Yes, that mistletoe … I asked my grandmother “is that why you had mistletoe in two places, in case Santa couldn’t find it?”

      Liked by 1 person

  11. pjlazos says:

    Great stories, Linda. I enjoyed your walk down memory lane!

    Liked by 1 person

  12. Leave everything out……whatever is left in the morning is all yours!

    Liked by 1 person

  13. Mackenzie says:

    These stories you are sharing are pulling at my heart strings ❤ How awesome that you made sure to spend that Christmas with your Grandma.. what treasured memories. And the fact that even Santa himself showed up- wow! Minnie sounds like a truly special lady that Santa made sure to make a grand appearance. This was truly heartwarming to read, Linda. Whichever cookies you left out I am sure Santa would be grateful. But I will say— you are the one who has restrained for 7 years. He gets them every year from millions of people, so I hope you kept whichever you wanted for yourself 😉

    Liked by 1 person

    • lindasschaub says:

      Thanks Mackenzie – I am glad you are enjoying them. I’ll have to dig deep into my memory bank for some remembrances for next Christmas as well. It was a special Christmas and I don’t know where she rounded up Santa, but she made sure I could no longer lament that I never had that special visit when I was growing up (“growing up” … heck, I was 29 when this happened). Yes, that 7 long years without sweets and now interrupted, but that was okay. I hope Santa appreciated Pepperidge Farm … I guess he was okay with them since I didn’t get a lump in my stocking! (My grandmother’s name of “Minnie” was short for Wilhemina, a German name, and I don’t think she ever went by that name, except on her birth certificate.)

      Liked by 1 person

  14. That was a lovely memory – you are a true storyteller! I would have left out the store bought cookies. He can’t possibly eat all those cookies anyway!

    Liked by 1 person

    • lindasschaub says:

      Thanks Joan – I really enjoyed doing that post … I almost didn’t use it as I thought I’d just keep it for next year, but decided to just go ahead and write the post. It is a fond memory which I will always cherish. I always took my pocket camera with me, no matter where I went. That little camera was a workhorse and served me well. I did decide to leave out the store-bought cookies and kept Ann Marie’s home-made cookies for me. 🙂 You’re right – he had cookies for each stop!

      Liked by 1 person

  15. Thanks for sharing your childhood memories. It was a lovely read. I hope you enjoy those cookies too 😁

    Liked by 1 person

    • lindasschaub says:

      Thanks – I am glad you enjoyed that Zena. I was going to save those photos for another year as I had so many Christmas posts, but I decided to go ahead and use it this year. It was quite a surprise for me – hard to believe it was all those years ago (1985).

      Like

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