Christmas in Little Rock in the 1960's

Every child looks forward to Christmas, the decorations, the music, the food and of course, the gifts. Well, the Boosey family was no different. We all had our
ideas of what the decorations should look like, what food to have, the music that was played and of course, we all had our idea of what gift to buy and
what gift we would like to receive.

Our family had 5 children, 4 boys and a girl, me, and I was the youngest. Now, many might say that I was probably spoiled, but quite the contrary.
 I had to hurry to keep up with the boys, if you know what I mean.

We had matriarchal family and Mom, even though she was disabled all of my life, was able to rule the house quite well from her rocker and recliner. In fact, my youngest brother, Fred, wrote a poem about her in school, called "Rocking Chair Mom". She was in charge of choosing the decorations. We had glass balls, which were roughened by years of snow sprayed on the tree and icicles. She had a specific way of applying the icicles, one by one. If you thought you might get a few by her by tossing them on the tree, she would notice, each time, and make you go back and redo.

The food, well, that was Dad's department. He would get up early and go to Shipleys for donuts and then head out to the kitchen to begin cooking lunch. The menu was his also. On Christmas, it was usually turkey, bread dressing, homemade noodles with giblet gravy, fruit salad, cranberry jelly out of a can, lima beans, corn and then Dick Boosey's famous pies--mincemeat, pumpkin, pecan, banana cream, lemon, etc .

So the tradition on Christmas morning at the Boosey house  was unlike many other homes, where the kids wake up and run to the tree and
open their gifts. No, we weren't like that, at all. You see, my brother, Harry Boosey (2nd from oldest) was Roman Catholic and he had to go to mass before breakfast or gifts or anything. So, We were all up and waiting while Harry walked to Holy Souls for mass. Each of us in our rooms, where we had to stay until Harry returned. Luckily, Santa Claus had left us each a stocking in our rooms to have. In our stockings were 2 comic books, 2 candy bars, a small toy an apple, an orange and nuts. We collected our fruits and nuts and presented them to dad for the fruit salad for lunch, and then we would stand at our doors and talk to the other siblings about what we got in our stockings.

Once Harry was home, we all went to our places at the dining table for breakfast. We could see the living room with the Christmas tree all decorated, the lights
twinkling and our Santa's gift sitting under it, torturing us, because we weren't allowed in there until we all finished eating and then we would sit in chairs in a circle in the living room. Mom was in her recliner with her notepad to record what each of us got and from whom, so we could write thank you notes that afternoon. The eldest was then asked to pass out the gifts, unless he would like to pass the honor to another sibling, he would take one gift at a time and read to whom it went and pass it to them. We would all watch with excitement as they opened and Mom recorded each detail. This went on until all the gifts were distributed and opened.

After the gifts, we could choose one small gift to take with us as all seven of us piled in the station wagon to go to see my grandfather and aunts and uncles.
There Santa always left us a small gift and there were snacks of fried peanuts, cookies, candy , cokes and of course the infamous Boosey eggnog, which I understand was much more nog than egg, although I cannot vouch for that.

Once we completed our traditions there, we would all pile home to have lunch and then sit at the table in the afternoon and write thank you notes from my Mom's complete list. Oh, yeah, and then we could play.

I know to many this seems so regimented and different, but to me is a vivid memory, a happy memory ,a warm memory and one I would do anything to experience, again. I loved Christmases in Little Rock growing up and my hope, is that even though the Christmases that we had in our home with our family were much different,that they will elicit the same warm feeling when Nick thinks back, as I get thinking about ours growing up in Little Rock.
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