Saturday, March 7, 2015

Christmas and Winter, in Papa's childhood

PLEASE BE ADVISED: do NOT, repeat, NOT attempt to follow my father/your grandfather's more dangerous attempts at winter amusement. IF I or your parents ever catch you so much as thinking about attaching yourself to a motorized vehicle while you yourself are outside said vehicle, you will be in such very, very deep trouble.

Also, I believe that sort of thing is illegal, these days.

Even if it isn't, just DON'T.

Thanks. I do love you.

C: What kinds of gifts did your grandma make for you?
P: I don't remember. Socks. Oh, shirts. I remember one time she made me a t-shirt that was just the exact opposite of what I would have wanted. I don't think she had any idea that a boy my age could have any sense of fashion.
C: What was it like, and how was that different from what you would have wanted?
P: It was just a plain t-shirt. Uuuh-- what can I say. I would have had a button-up shirt if I would have had my choice. I just remember I wasn't very impressed with it. It was a shirt, though, that I could wear to school. It was one I needed, but didn't want. It was just very plain. I made some comment that I didn't need it or like it, and for some reason that didn't go over real well.
C: You played pass the button [at the Christmas parties]?
P: Yeah. They had a string they'd put it all around the room for the grandkids to hold, and tried to hide it from the person in the middle, and when they found the button, they traded places with them.
C: Were Christmas presents wrapped? If so, how?
P: Oh, yeah. We all wrapped our own presents for other people. There was a pile of wrapped presents for other people. Well, some were wrapped in just a grocery bag.
C: So, that IS a family tradition, then. [We have a running joke at Christmas that presents still in the bags they were bought in are "Starflower traditional wrapping paper." I find that Dad seems to be highly suggestible these days, so I am sort of wondering if this part of the conversation wasn't more influenced by his memories when he was a dad than from when he was a kid.]
P: Well, most of them were wrapped. I remember H saying that he wanted to stay up and help wrap.
C: So were your presents from Santa wrapped, or not?
P:  Some of them were wrapped, and some of them weren't.
[Since I have clear memories of my parents saying that Dad's family didn't wrap presents from Santa, and Mom's did, I will be checking this one out with Mom and/or the uncles.]
C: What was your best Christmas present ever?
P: Santa Claus had brought a rifle, a cap rifle, and you had to put a cap in at a time, and you shoot it, and it was-- I remember that, I really enjoyed it. We'd go out in the haystack, and we'd have war with each other. I don't remember if anyone else got one, but I remember it was mine, and I really liked it. You took the cap out and put it in the chamber, and pulled the trigger, and pop!
C: I remember you said you had Lincoln Logs. What other kinds of things did you have?
P: Yeah, and, oh, we had American Bricks, they were always a favorite. Instead of building houses, we would build tanks, or at least I would, we would build war pieces, throw one at each other and that was shooting.
C: Were they like like Legos?
P: Yeah, but not as tight.
I could build a tank by putting two rows together, and build my own army by making war pieces.
[Link to photographs of American Bricks over the years:]
C: Did you have toy cars, trains, or wagons?
P: I don't remember specifically. We could build all that stuff with our Legos. That was by far my favorite toys that I could remember.
C: Did they have wheels?
P: No. They didn't need wheels. We could drag them along the ground.
C: Did you go sledding in winter?
P: Yeah. Let's see if I can remember. Seems like we went to Presto Hill a few times. A lot of people went there, Presto Bench. Not even sure how to pronounce it, Presto Bench was how it sounded to me. [Presto Hill's much-neglected Facebook page:]
I remember having a sled, with runners on it, and the runners were several inches below the sled, and held the sled above it.
I don't know what else to say about it.
We tied the sled to the car a time or two.
C: That sounds dangerous.
P: I think if you're going slow enough it isn't dangerous.
Oh, I don't think it was that dangerous.
My dad wasn't reckless or anything. I mean, it was country roads and stuff.
I mean, one of the things we would do is hang on to the bumper, and slide along on our shoes.
C: Oh dad! I'm glad you're still alive!
P: I don't think it was that dangerous. I mean, I don't think he ever got out of second gear, maybe not even first. I mean, what was he going to do, back up and run over you? You were already on the ground-- it wasn't like it was that far to fall.
C: Did you do this on your family car, or other peoples' cars, too?
P: Oh, just family car.
Oh, I think maybe my brothers did others' cars, too. I think wasn't uncommon to see a car coming and latch on and sled for a while.
C: Did you build snowmen?
P: Yeah, and snow forts. Well, I remember when we had a big heavy snowstorm, the wind would come along and pack it, and I could walk along and it would be thick enough I wouldn't break through. And sometimes I could dig under it, and at least when I was small, I could have walked on it. I mean, we would build snow caves. We probably only did it when we was small-- probably only did it once or twice.

N.B.: This isn't an exact transcript. I type pretty fast, but not quite as fast as my dad talks, and I've found that interrupting him to catch up often means that I loose the end of a story. I WILL find that voice recorder--eventually-- and in the mean time, if you want the original transcript instead of the cleaned-up one with my best reconstruction of the conversation as I recall, just email me and it's done.

NB II: The pictures are from the Graphics Fairy. I have NO IDEA whether/how much they resemble the things they are meant to illustrate. 

1 comment:

emw said...

You're against water sking?