December 23, 2015
Christmas in our house was a verb. For my sister and I the flurry of holiday activity began in sunny August when the JC Penney catalog was shoved into our mailbox. The first hundred pages were filler. Who needed to look at moms, dads, and kids dressed up in holiday garb or flannel pajamas? One flick of my wrist and the mail order magic began. Toys were segregated strictly by color. I never lingered on pages of browns and greens showing an articulated GI Joe and his assorted accessories- rifles, camouflage tents, hard helmets. I never cultivated a keen interest in hotwheels cars and the orange racetrack wrapping around every corner in the house. My eyes narrowed on pink and purple pages- dolls, tea sets, and pretend makeup. Each was thumbed a thousand times; it would take weeks to make final selections. Those were circled and initialed. No reason for Mom to wonder who wanted the Barbie lounge singer in black glitter with a floor mic, dreamy.
I remember one Christmas especially. I had found the perfect gift to reflect the sophistication achieved in nearly a full decade of life; a small cream colored French style telephone. Bonus- it was an AM radio. It radiated understated elegance. Why, Grace Kelly would use this to answer a call from her real live prince.