Christmas Message From Stan and Lois McCormack.
As Christmas approaches, we think of sharing and when one writes on a website, the most appropriate thing to share is a personal story. At this time of the year, we look back; we remember the magic we experienced as children.
Most often such retrospective moments are enhanced by listening to familiar music, music associated with Christmas. There is a certain comfort which comes in part because of the association of the music to other activities closely linked to Christmas ~ a familiarity usually gained by reason of an attachment to the Church during one’s formative years.
For many, the School Concert presented the opportunity to share, by performing, by singing Christmas music, or by acting out biblical stories associated with nativity.
The smaller the community in which one grew up, the closer the link among Church, School, and Community.
The elementary public school I attended was a One Room School and the attendance peaked at 16 pupils. Accordingly, every student had the opportunity to take an active part in the annual Christmas Concert. Pic is of every student sitting on our front step.
I believe that radio, more so than television, was conducive to the generation of visions as mentioned above >> no doubt because there was no TV when most of us were at this point of our development, and accordingly, the visions created by radio were those we ourselves formed. They remain burned into our memory bank!!
My personal Christmas memories, the childhood memories which I recall, were those formed from probably 1943 to 1949. We held Christmas at our home. My mother’s family travelled to be with us ~ one aunt and uncle in particular often surface in my memory ~ probably because they had no children and therefore made more “of a fuss” over myself and my two siblings. They were especially active in the preparations for Santa!! The entire family was happy to have them participate in Christmas festivities >> they became a part of the Christmas Family. Pic of a/n couple taken in 1949.
My grandparents also made the one mile trek to be at our Xmas table; most often by automobile when road conditions permitted. (Vintage car NOT my grandparents; but it was a neighbours.! However; on at least one Christmas, the grandparents were forced to travel by tractor, not through the snow, but over the snow. And that aunt and uncle, the ones with no children, they came by horse and sleigh, not cutter, sleigh.
As I sit at my computer I cannot help but reflect on how communications have changed; ~ it has not been an evolution, it has been a revolution!! No TV; that came to our family in 1952. No cell phone, my goodness; how did my mother ever do her shopping?? LOL We did have a telephone, phone #, Brooklin 19r11 (the “r” stands for ring) and when the phone made one long ring, followed by one short ring, Mom answered the phone ~ often to become aware that some of the others, who shared the line with us, were already there. I suppose in some way, this was a type of communication, a sharing of the news. The use of the phone was limited, not only technically, but economically. Each call outside of your small phoning area cost 10 cents, and I can assure you that it took a very serious incident to justify such a call. It was immoral to make an “unnecessary call”!!
There is a memory gap from about 1949 to the time Lois & I had children and began celebrating Christmas. Vivid memories of the celebrations in Germany surface, (1956 to 1959) probably because of our new role as Santa Clause and the different slant given to the celebration by the German people. Our first two children were born in Germany, (two of five), while stationed there serving with the RCAF, (Royal Canadian Air Force). We celebrated with our landlady, Frau Braun and with their immediate family ~ Anna and Frank; Francis and Hubert; and the two youngen Herbert and Erica. Two of Frau Braun’s 3 daughters, married Canadians.
My memories continue to build as we return home; we live in many different provinces, and eventually upon retirement, end up at the Farm in Little Britain, Township of Mariposa, ON. I suppose that period became the zenith of our celebrations because by then the family had expanded to include husbands, wives and grandchildren.
Children give meaning to Christmas. Our oldest grand-daughters (now in her 30s and married with 3 children) spoke of these Christmases recently, as she lamented that Gramm and Gramps would not be home for Christmas. We of course are not the only Gramm and Gramps that have contributed to some disruption to the “family Christmas” by reason of their exodus to warmer Climes.