I did not have an idyllic childhood. There were moments that were pure and sweet and others that were filled with raw gut-wrenching pain. I’m not suggesting that my childhood was uniquely bad, though. It was just not exactly stable. I don’t like mentioning it. It’s done. Nothing can change those years. My sweet Mother reads my blog and I know she wrestles with her own pain over how those years unfolded – so I don’t want to add fresh hurt for her either.
I’m not telling you any of this so that you’ll feel sorry for me or lash out with nasty comments about the choices my parents did/didn’t make. Stuff happens. Regrets remain. ’nuff said. I tell you these things simply because I needed to lay that out that backstory to give you some idea what must have been happening in my heart and mind as I faced this particularly memorable Christmas in the 1970′s.
During my early teens my Father remarried. While he continued to live and work rather far away from his new family, my brother and I spent a while living with neither of our parents and fending for ourselves (emotionally) while living under our Step-Mother’s roof. I choose to believe that she did care about my brother and I but with four kids of her own (two older than us and two younger) she had her hands full already.
Like any 13 year old girl, I was looking forward to Christmas. The only item on my wish list: curling iron. Nothing else. Just a curling iron. I was finally going to have that Farrah Fawcett hair!
It was about a week before Christmas, 1975, I had just turned 13 a few days earlier. A package arrived for my brother and I. It was from our Grandparents (Nanny and PawPaw). I pulled the individually wrapped gifts from the box placed them under the tree with the few other gifts that were there.
I shook the box that had my name on it. It was an odd rattling. Probably not a curling iron. *sigh* But I was good with that. My step mom had been told what I wanted and I felt pretty sure she’d come through.
Christmas morning arrives. I have my meager little pile next to me and I begin unwrapping one of two boxes that are most closely curling-iron-shaped. I decide to open Nanny and PawPaw’s first. Peeling back the wrapping I’m greeted by the face of Twiggy. Hmmm. “I wonder what this means. Perhaps they used a Twiggy box to confuse me. Very clever.”
Inside the box I find… a used set of steak knives. Oh yeah. I was confused alright!
At first I was as disappointed as any 13yo who had no interest in steak knives OR Twiggy. Within minutes I was giggling and then laughing over the ridiculousness of the situation. I’m not sure when I began to approach major disappointment this way. It’s one of the few things about myself that I wouldn’t change. The worse the situation the funnier I find it. The trivialities of an average day don’t have anywhere NEAR the same effect. Those have a way of producing a raging lunatic…or perhaps it’s these damnable menopause hormones (they get blamed for everything right now).
ANYWAY – back to Christmas. I did get the curling iron, some strawberry perfume, lip gloss, a flannel plaid shirt (yeah – that one was odd, too but doesn’t even come close to the steak knives) and a couple of Grateful Dead cassette tapes. So – while not a terrible Christmas it was definitely memorable.
What was your oddest Christmas gift?
Editing to add: I recently learned of this contest over at Hooked and Happy so I’m adding this post.