Me and My Big Brothers
Christmas, 1974 brought about a big change in our family Christmas traditions. The previous June, my oldest brother had gotten married and he and his wife were living in Williamsburg, Kentucky while he attended college. For the first time, my brother would not be spending his entire Christmas holiday with us and for the next couple of years, my brother and sister-in-law would spend the week before Christmas with her family and they would share Christmas Day and the week following with us. I especially enjoyed taking care of their cat, Fudgie while they were home. That is, until we figured out that I was allergic to cats and I had to stop bringing her into my bedroom. It was quite an adjustment for my sister in law, as well. since she was used to opening her presents on Christmas Eve, while we were early Christmas morning risers. That first year, she had a very "rude" awakening when I misread the numbers on my clock and woke her up at 5:00 am rather than 6:00!
The following Christmas brought another big adjustment when my next brother was also attending college. Having grown up in a household that was constantly active, it had been difficult getting used to being the only child living at home. Adding to that difficulty was the fact that my mother had had to go back to work and my father was forced to start working second shift. Therefore, the idea of all of them being home for Christmas was a joyful thought. Just being there together, watching "Family Feud" in the morning or "White Christmas" in the evening was priceless. One Christmas I remember in particular, my brother, Brian, had arrived home the day of my last day of school before Christmas vacation. During that winter, I was involved in after school bowling and he surprised me by picking me up at the bowling alley. What a delight to look up and see him walking down the hallway. Upon arriving at home, I was happy to see that he had decorated the house with fresh pine greenery and holly berries that he had brought with home with him from Kentucky. We would stay up late watching old reruns of "The Honeymooners" and "You Bet Your Life" together. I surely dreaded New Year's Eve that year because I knew it would be time for my siblings to head back to Williamsburg too soon.