Thursday, December 24, 2009

Christmas at 399 East Fourth

Remember the night before Christmas when you were a kid? It was sure magical wasn’t it? Just thinking about the next morning and what you would find under the tree. The sheer mystery of what was in all those wrapped packages along with wondering what was inside your stocking nailed to the wall. Oh yes, it was magical indeed.

And for all of us here at 399, Christmas Eve was nothing to sneeze at either you know. That’s because our grandparents always had Christmas Eve in their apartment right below me, and right above my cousins Pete and Denise. So for all of us kids it was exchanging presents with our cousins and grandparents.

And my Grandmother Isabel, boy did she ever treat all the grandchildren equally. It was always the same shirts for all the boys and the same dresses for the girls. I clearly remember my cousin Pete and I wearing this same-checkered “Wool Rich” jacket almost every day one winter back in the early 70’s. And we have the pictures to prove it as well.

Yes the same bikes for all the kids, the same toys for all the kids, the same everything. Our grandmother and grandfather were the best at treating all of their grandchildren exactly the same. And we will always appreciate that as long as we live.

Oh man, was it hard falling asleep the night before Christmas in our top floor apartment. With Joseph and I sharing this small four by eight foot room, we could probably hear one another’s heart beating in our bunk bed because we were that close.

But somehow, yes somehow we did manage to fall asleep, and I’m sure we dreamed about Christmas morning and what we would find under the tree.

And then the light of Christmas morning came through the tiny window in our bedroom. It was finally time to run into the living room with it’s big picture window overlooking East Fourth Street, and open up all the presents that “Santa” left for us.

Remember Christmas morning when you were a kid?
It was sure magical, wasn’t it?

Ron Lopez


Pete said...

I still have that Woolrich CPO shirt - don't fit in it anymore though...and you forgot that our grandparents also were the sole annual providers of underwear!

As magical as Christmas morning was as a kid (and Denise ALWAYS woke up first and dragged me out to see what Sant left us), it was even more magical when, as a parent, I saw Christmas through my kids' eyes, especially when we caught them completely by surprise with some special presents they could have never expected. The pure joy, excitement and jumping around with hugs and kisses galore will stay with me forever.

Merry Christmas amigo to you and your clan...see ya tomorrow!


Alaina said...

Christmas eve across the street is still being celebrated the same way it has been for 80+ years. Lots of O'Callaghans singing lots of Christmas songs very loudly, badly, and full of spirit!