MV Obsession

My obsession with Martha's Vineyard.. phototography.. life in general and this and that…


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The Christmas Box(es)…

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T’was Christmas morning and all through the house,

Everyone was stirring, even the mouse,

Lots of smiles, joy and merriment,

And of course a new ornament.

Patty opened her box and Deb’s turn was next,

The look on her face was very perplexed !

The box was empty, no ornament inside…

I felt terrible and almost cried.

Deb rose to her feet and headed to the

tree,

And hung the empty box where the ornament should be.

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The following year I searched all around,

A perfect ornament for Deb must be found,

It was, it was just meant to be,

A box ornament for our Christmas tree.

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We hang them each year and remember with glee,

How an empty box (filled with love) came to decorate

our tree.

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Christmas 1966…

The sisters first Christmas, 50 years ago.

Patty and Debbie became sisters on Nov 6, 1966 but they did not meet until Dec 21, 1966.

Dec 1966.. Patty & Debbie

Patty was almost 2 1/2 when Debbie was born.   Deb, who was due the end of December arrived 7 weeks early and didn’t come home from the hospital until Dec 21, the first day of winter, 1966.

As you can see from the picture Patty was delighted and happy to be a big sister.  Debbie, I’m sure was happy to finally be home.

Patty was a terrific big sister right from the beginning.  She helped me take care of Debbie and when I would give Deb her bottle Patty and her new dolly would join us.   Her doll was almost the same size as Deb, Debbie had been only 3 lbs when she was born and had to be 5 lbs before she could come home… so yes, she and the doll were almost the same size.

Since it was so close to Christmas when Deb came home I wanted her to be a surprise to her grandparents when they arrived on Christmas morning.   Patty was under instructions from Santa Claus not to tell anyone that her new sister was home, and since the request was coming from the big guy himself she didn’t utter a word to anyone.

However…   my mother called one evening and just at that moment Debbie, who was in the same room with me, began to cry.  Oh oh.   My mother asked if that was a baby and I said no.  She said she didn’t believe me.  She asked again… ‘is that baby home from the hospital?’   I said yes but that I had wanted to keep her a surprise until Christmas.   My mother kept her composure but I could hear the crack in her voice when said how happy she was but that we shouldn’t tell my father… let him be surprised on Christmas morning.

So Christmas morning arrived, along with a 24 hour stomach bug which hit me pretty hard.   I managed to get out of bed long enough to greet my parents at the door.   Patty was all bubbly and happy to see her grandparents and they were showering her with plenty of attention.

Christmas 1966

Then my dad glanced at the tree.   He looked closer.  I could see his eyes moisten when he realized that the baby in the baby carrier under the tree was NOT a doll but his new granddaughter Debbie.    My dad wasn’t one to let his emotions out or show on his face… but he did that morning.

It was definitely a very merry, happy and blessed Christmas that year.

Christmas morning 6 years later in 1972, my favorite Christmas picture of Patty and Debbie…

Xmas 72

Christmas over the years…

My creationMerry Christmas, with love, to my girls ❤ ❤

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One Vineyard Christmas …

I’ve been to Martha’s Vineyard around Christmastime but to my recollection there is only one time in my life that I actually spent Christmas on the Vineyard. I was probably around 5 or 6 and my mother and I went to MV to be with my godparents.

Edward and Gertrude Norris (Nana and Pop) were my godparents. They lived part of the year in their house in Oak Bluffs which is where I spent my childhood summers. The other part of the year they lived in Newark, NJ downstairs in the same house we lived in. They were the most important people in my life besides my parents. They never had children of their own and they thought of us as their family. When my mother graduated from high school on MV she moved to Newark, NJ to live with them and to find work.

One Christmas, in the early 1950’s, when Nana and Pop were elderly, having health problems and living year round on the Vineyard and missing us, my mother decided she and I should go and spend Christmas with them. I was too young to realize this might be the last Christmas for one or both of them, all I knew was that I was going to wake up Christmas morning ON THE VINEYARD. How great would that be. The only glitch was that my dad couldn’t get off work to come with us but he insisted we go. Talk about being torn.

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I seem to remember there was a dusting of snow on Christmas morning… even if there wasn’t I like to think there was.  There were presents… one in particular I remember because I asked for it every year. A nurses kit. It was a white square box with a red cross on the side. Inside were band-aids, gauze bandages, a wooden thermomenter and a stethescope, a name tag… and the most important article.. a nurses cap. I spent the most of the morning bandaging people up whether they wanted to be or not.

All of a sudden I heard a faint knock on the front door !! I ran to open it and let out a shriek… it was my dad standing there with a big smile and a shirt box. A shirt box !! Yes indeed that’s all he had with him. No suitcase. No duffle bag. Just a shirt box with a couple of clean shirts and other essentials inside it. He liked to travel light.

It turned out to be one of the most wonderful Christmases of my childhood.

A few years ago I found this letter that my Pop had written to me for my 6th birthday in 1948. After Nana died he pretty much lived alone except for the two summer months we spent with him. I loved to listen to his stories of working on the steamships in Massachusetts and later being a bank guard in NJ. Pop couldn’t walk without the aid of a cane and even then couldn’t walk far, certainly no further than the front or back yard. Almost everyday we’d have our lunch together under a tree in the backyard and then in the evening we’d listen to the radio together. He liked programs like ‘The Shadow’ which scared the bejeebers out of me and made it hard for me to walk down the dark and seemingly endlessly long hall to my upstairs bedroom. The hardest part of my summers was saying good-bye to him… I wouldn’t cry in front of him but the tears spilled out of my eyes the moment we left the house. I still find it sad and emotional to leave the Vineyard and I’m sure those moments from long ago have a bearing on it.

I am blessed to have the memories of that one Christmas on Martha’s Vineyard and of Nana and Pop, two people who were such an important part of my life.

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….and happy holiday memories to all.