Sunday, December 25, 2016

Ghosts of Christmas Past

From our Family to Yours!

Being in a new home, and in a new community does tend to lead to a quiet Christmas for two. I have been thinking on past friends and especially Family.   Its at Christmas and other special holidays  when their absence really hits home.   Some are simply far away and some are no longer with us.

I'm lucky to have a photographic record of Christmases past to review and wander down memory lane.

This is my parents very first Christmas tree as a married couple in 1954.

It's 1959 and that's me on the left and I must be about three years old.   Its my very first Christmas party.

Here I am meeting "Father Christmas" as he's known in England. I don't look too sure of him!

My parents emigrated to Canada in 1960 and we lived in Saskatoon.  The 1960's had especially harsh winters and so Dad wore a buffalo coat when he walked the beat as a police constable.  I remember trying to lift this coat and couldn't do it. It was also a very old coat as they passed them on, one officer to another.

In the picture above and below... this is me and the year is either 1960 or 1961. I'm four or five years old.  See the Santa at the base of the tree?  My parents had that their entire married life together, and then Dad for another 20 years after Mum passed away. It and some other ornaments were what I like to think of as traditional anchors.  There was a comfort to seeing them every year.

This would be 1962.   I can still recall the Christmas parcels my Nana sent from England.  There were English style candies and treats....and...

My Nana would always send me an 'annual' to read. Usually a story book about Harold Hare, Rupert Bear, Beano or some other story collection.  I grew to love books at a very early age!

I'm almost certain this one below is Christmas 1963.  My last Christmas alone as my siblings all came along after that.

Some years later and a brother and two sisters later.... this is what Christmas Day in Dunedin, New Zealand looks like.  I'm fourteen, and my smallest sister is four.  I never adjusted to taking cold chicken to the beach for Christmas dinner or Dad bring the Hibachi along.  Everyone exchanged cards with traditional snow scenes too.  Weird!   

The lovely beach where we are sitting is St Clair at one end..... and a long ways off at the other end, its St Kilda. In the black and white above, you are looking up the St Clair portion towards Lawyers Head at the far end.  Here's a coloured view of the same beach and the sand dunes, and Lawyers Head. We spent literally hours on end playing here.  Searching for sea critters in the rock pools at Lawyers end, or at the opposite end, swimming in the open air St Kilda salt water pool.   The surf off shore was darn cold (it flows up from Antartica!) and 'here there be sharks'.  These were taken  back in the mid 1970's.  Check this link to see the beaches as they are today.

This was a New Year's day picnic 1973. The whole gang again, plus my mother on the far right and a family friend in the centre. Dad was, as usual, behind the lens.

I don't recall the name of this beach but Dad caught a nice picture of Mum sitting in the dunes while we played on the beach.  It was a very hot day and so we were ready to cool off in the water.

In 1974 we came back to Canada, life ensued and soon I was away from home, married and had my own family.  I started my own traditions with my children and faithfully put up the tree and same decorations year after year.

Now, I look around at the winter landscapes and smile at the snow scenes. I feel more at home in the northern hemisphere.  We seem to be having a colder, snowier winter than in recent years.  The pond behind our house is frozen over and kids were skating on it yesterday. Sadly I didn't get pictures but will try if they skate again today.  They left their goal posts on the ice so I think they will! 
And they did!  The fence marks the end of our back yard... and the pond is just the other side. They played until it was quite dark and seemed to be having a great time!

There is such beauty to a winter landscape. There's no mistaking snow clouds  once you've seen them!  But on a sunny or partly sunny day, with the lower weaker sunlight colours appear in the landscape that are soft, muted and delicately blended.   I  can see beautiful warps in pictures like these:

(all from Google images)

I'm thinking a winter series would be nifty if woven up in, say,  July 2017!

All the very best from Susan and Bruce 


Dianne said...

Wonderful memories you have of Christmases past. Yep, we walked the beach yesterday before sitting down to Christmas lunch - aubergine parmegiano! I was brought up with a hot roast and all the trimmings but it's changing to BBQ (barbies). Enjoy your day.

Cindie said...

What a lovely trip down the holiday memory lane.
Merry Christmas Susan!

Peg Cherre said...

Thanks for the historic photos. And the winter weaving inspiration pix!

Hilary said...

You have lived in some interesting places.........a friend of a friend lived in Saskatoon......pretty remote. And New, did you love it? It looks so beautiful.

Susan said...

New Zealand is absolutely gorgeous! I would go back for an extended visit in a heartbeat.... except for the distance to travel (and health insurance) and of course... Money! Life always seemed to keep either time or money ( and sometimes both) at arm's reach.
I wrote 'pen pal' style to old school chums for close on 30 years and I'm registered with my old Alma Mater.

By using Google Earth I can see the old homes my parents rented and see more than I ever did when we lived there. Then there was the LOTR / Hobbit movies.... where you can see some of the country (granted a bit altered) but still pure NZ.

Saskatoon was okay.... very hot in summers, very cold and snowy in winters. We were immigrants to a new country and so like many before us.... we did our best to settle in and adapt. I can really relate to people nowadays settling in new places as there's no quick fix. It takes time and lots of it.

Happy New Year! Susan