Please join me for a trip back to a 1940's Christmas
Mom started decorating about a week past Thanksgiving. Dad got the big ladder out and inspected all the light hooks he has put along the eaves to hold the strings of big lights. Our house is brick and 2 story so the ladder has to reach the 30' top peak. My Dad sorts through all the light stings and replaces all the bad bulbs from last year before he runs the lights on the eves. The house is smelling delicious as Mom has started her Holiday baking and spends her time trying to keep Dad, Rollie and I out of her goodies as they come out of the oven. Everyone is in a somber mood because the War is going on and every family has been touched by it. My Brother Walter is in the Pacific in a Submarine called the USS Flasher. We seen news of the Sub leaving port in Hawaii for a War Patrol last month in the newsreel at the movies and haven't heard a word since. Mom and Dad keep themselves busy with preparations to keep things halfway normal here at home but I know they all going crazy with worry.
A week before Christmas my Dad, Rollie and I run to the tree lot and buy 2 trees one for parts and the other to present in our living room. Dad would remove the branches off one and drill and fill in the main tree so that it looked like it grew there. Decorating was Mom and my job and always had to include lots of tinsel. My Brother Rolland was the artist in the family and he would paint our large living room mirror with a wonderful picture of Santa with tinted glass wax. It was always a big hit with everyone.
Our neighbors would all drop by to see the mirror and have a treat from Mom's holiday goodies usually bringing goodies they had made themselves. Christmas in spite of the War was always a time of reflection and giving. We would join many of them for the annual Christmas service at our church and many time attend the Midnight mass at the local Catholic Church with our Catholic neighbors.
Christmas in our house was always a gathering place for the entire Lindberg clan and with my Dad's 8 brothers and sisters it's a big one. Everyone stops by Christmas day for Dad's Eggnog and Mom's holiday breads and cookies. About 10Am it all starts and lasts through early afternoon. Uncles & Aunts and all our Cousins start arriving after each has had their Christmas morning. The kids all end up upstairs, the men gather around the Crystal Punch Bowl that has been in the family for generations. The ladies gather in the kitchen and comfort each other over the Son's and Daughters who are at War.
As a kid growing up we are selfishly lost in our new toys from Christmas not concerned about the events of the day. Our toys are usually something my Dad made in the basement shop that has been out of bounds for the last month. Christmas Dinner was always a huge Turkey from my Aunt Mabel's farm and everything my folks ration book could obtain. We had an enormous table that was set for the adults and the kids usually ate in the kitchen or at a side table. At our house a place was always left at the table for Walter and he would always be included in our prayer before dinner.
I didn't mention the trip to downtown Seattle to see the beautiful Christmas displays in the store windows. Once each year Dad would load us in the old 37 Chev and take us to town. There were always throngs of people there to look and wonder at the store windows that were full of wonderful scenes like electric trains and moving mannequins, one would always have the manger with baby Jesus, Joseph and Mary. It was one of the highlights of the season to make this trip and it usually ended up at a local cafe called Ben Paris for hot cocoa and a Bear claw. It was a simpler time and it took little to entertain us kids.