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:usaflag: Royal's Christmas story.
Posted by: Royal
Date: December 21, 2010 03:14PM
I added this picture. It was taken about the time of the story because my brother Skip was born in 45. I have that thing on my head because I had ring worm, pretty common back then and you can see the steps going into the house and the outhouse out back,

Christmas in the 40's
Christmas in the 40's

When I was a kid, as I have said before, we didn't have much. We lived in a basement house, pumped water outside and had an outhouse. I never felt deprived because most of our friends were in the same boat. We were the only ones that lived in a basement but it did not feel strange to me.

There were kids in school that teased me because of the house and we had to wear our cloths until we grew out of them but I don't remember letting it bother me much. I remember one teacher telling one of those smart arses that at least Royal's cloths were always clean and ironed. Made me feel proud somehow and I had little to be proud of.

Our basement house was nice, in my eyes. We had an entrance on the north end, right in the middle of the wall. You have seen them I imagine, the stairs came up from the basement and you walked out the door and took a half dozen steps down to the ground. The old hand pump was to the left, we had to be sure we took a cup of water with us to prime it and there was an old gnarly apple tree to the right. This tree sticks in my memory because of the many hours I spent setting the roof of the house, watching the starlings feeding their baby's. There was a hole in the tree that they nested in for many years.

Once you came down the stairs into the living part of the basement, to the left was the kitchen. The whole place was one big room but my parents had a small bedroom in the far right corner. It had a door and everything. The big oil space heater was just outside their door, as I remember it. Remember I am thinking back to the mid forties.

In the left far corner was our room. There were three of us boys, Me, Gary and Skip. I can not remember where Skip slept because he was just a baby but Gary and I slept in a bunk bed. It was a crude affair but fine with us. There was no carpet on the cement floor but probably a rug of some sort, I can not remember.

The bedroom was in the corner and the outside walls were of concrete block but the inside two walls were just a blanket strung on a wire or something like that. The door was just a gap would would push open, between two blankets. It was always warm and snug in there. I slept on the top bunk so it was the warmest. The basement was a low basement, as they built them back then, so was easy to heat.

This was in the days before TV and after we were sent to bed at night my parents would listen to the radio. Oh I remember those old shows, the Inner Sanctum and The Shadow etc. We would lay there, pretending to be asleep and never missing a word. I have hundreds of those old shows on MP3 and they sure bring back memories. Memories of being snug and warm in my bed and being safe.

The rest of the basement, that was not kitchen-dining room or bedrooms was called the store room. Everything else went in there and it was a mess. Well it was a mess to me but Mom and Dad knew where everything was in there.

My dad was terrified of snakes and lizards. I always had them as pets but had to keep them out of his sight. One late fall I had three of them and the weather was getting cold. I took those guys, in the cage I had for them and hid them in the store room. My parents didn't have a clue and I kept them there all winter. I don't really remember what I fed them or even if I did but it was cool and they did fine and nice, fat and shiny.

My mother ran across them one day and she was upset. Not really at us but she knew if my dad had seen the he would have went nuts and killed them. Now they were OUR secret. My mother never told him and we kept them all winter. That store room brings back memories too. I remember the time right after WW2. My uncle Ernie stayed with us for a while after getting discharged. He had brought back a German Helmet. My dad had he and maybe some others were messing with it and my dad put it on his head and told someone, maybe my uncle to hit him on the head with a hammer. Duh! My dad had not been in the service and was young and stupid. He did not realize that those helmets had an inner webbing that your head sat in. Well most of them did anyway. Not this one.

My mother said, "Happy that is stupid!" but my dad, being a male and never listening to anything anybody said, "Oh quit your worrying" and Ernie let er rip. Liked to have broke his dang head!! It seems he was setting on a wooden kitchen chair but not for long. He hit the floor and the helmet went flying and my mother started a running and laughing. By my dads actions he did not think it was all that funny.

I remember on time my dad had gone squirrel hunting and he had gotten a few. He was in the store room cleaning the squirrels and the way he skinned them, I think, I was pretty young and can not clearly see all the details, was to tie there hind feet together and sling it over a nail in the rafter. then with the critter a hanging down, he would skin it out.

I remember watching him do it, I am guessing but figure I was about five or six because Gary was only four or so. Gary was watching too and after dad had stripped the skin off and the bloody carcass was a hanging there, Gary asked what it was for. My dad said we were gonna eat it.

My mother called for something and we walked out to see what she wanted. I don't remember what it was but when we walked back in, Gary was standing on the dang chair and a chewing on that bloody dang carcass. My did liked to have crapped as he did not have a very strong stomach. He yelled, "Chris! Come get this dang kid!" or words to that effect. She came in and Gary was a grinning with blood all over his face. We did laugh over that though.

I got sidetracked there I guess. This was to be about Christmas.

We were no different than kids now days. Christmas was a wonderful time and even in the basement house we had a tree. My dad usually had to go out somewhere and chop one and some of those things were pretty pitiful by today's tree farm standards but when they were all decorated up, with paper chains we made in school and the big Angel on the top, they were always beautiful. My mother always saved the ornaments we made in school and probably still has them stored away.

There were no shopping Malls around back then. Heck, our Christmas shoppin was all done in Down Town Pontiac. The biggest city I had ever seen. The main street was about ten blocks long and there was a Sears, Kresge's, Waits Sims etc. I loved Sims and Kresge's. Sims had old wooden floors but at the top of the stairs to the second floor was a giant sea turtle shell, hanging on the wall and its head mounted in the middle of the shell. I was just in awe of that turtle and just had to see it every time we went to town. I can see it clearly right now.

Like I said, the floors were all wooden and so were the stairs. The first time I ever saw a slinky was in Sims and they were demonstrating them on those stairs. It was like magic. I just had to have one and I got one that year too!!

My parents did all their Christmas shopping down there in Pontiac and it will always be in my memory. It was such a festive time with all the decorations and Christmas music. Mobs of people crowding the sidewalks and for us kids it was heaven. I am sure it was a pain for the adults but not for us.

Kresge's was a special place for me too. I can remember that place for two reasons. Number one and it was a big one, was the fact that there was a pet shop in the basement and it even had fish. Now that little pet shop was about the size of a Volkswagen but it sure was the biggest around. Man when they first started stocking Angel Fish I just had to have one, a pair of them. I did not have an aquarium or nothing but I wanted some angel fish. Well that is another story though and this is a Christmas story.

By Christmas eve we would be beside ourselves. We were not allowed in the store room for some reason. That is where the presents were hidden is the reason but it did not enter our minds back then. Santa had our presents and why would he hide them in our store room? After all! Duh?

On Christmas Eve the tree would be all decorated and we would have the presents we had made in school, all wrapped and under the tree. My parents would haul out the presents they had gotten us and that would drive us nuts. It seems that they would bring most out a day or two ahead of Christmas just to drive us nuts. It worked but we dare not touch them!

My mother would bake some cookies and we would always put some out for Santa and a big glass of milk too. Santa would get mighty hungry hauling all those presents around to us good little kids!!

One big worry I always had was the fact that we did not have a fireplace for Santa to come down. All we had was that old oil stove and the pipe was too small and too dang hot!! This really worried old six year old Royal. I would ask my parents about it and they said they would leave the door unlocked for him. Just before going to bed I would always walk up the stairs and check that dang door because I wanted Santa to be able to get his cookies and milk. Well the presents would be great too I guess.

My parents would finally put us to bed and then turn on the radio. I would do my darnedest to get to sleep but there was so much going through my head. Was Santa gonna remember us? Was I good enough this year to get the slinky? or the Angel fish? What would I keep the Angel Fish in ? What was I gonna get from Santa? What was that noise??? Was that him??

I would hear my parents a mumbling in the other room, waiting for my dumbarse to go to sleep. Every once in a while the blanket door would open a crack to see if I was asleep, my brothers always fell right to sleep it seems, then my mother would say, "Go to sleep honey" and go back in the other room that served as a kitchen, dining room and living room. They would have the radio turned down real low, hoping I would get to sleep.

This would go on and on. My heart a beating and trying my dangest to get to sleep because Santa was not gonna come until I got to sleep. My mother would come in again and I would pretend I was asleep but she knew.

I remember my dad saying, and it happened every year, "When is that G** D***Kid going to sleep?" Oh boy that always helped me to relax! I was doing the best I could!

I would lay there in the dark and just dream about the next morning. Was that a noise I just heard from Gary, who was sleeping below me?? I would look down and he would be out like a light. Somehow that pizzed me off. Why can he sleep like that? Didn't he realize Santa was a coming tonight??

Finally my mom came in the room and asked what was the problem. I told her I was sorry but I just could not get to sleep. She asked me if it might help if I slept on the floor. I told her maybe so she took the blanket and pillow and made a place for me on the floor, right next to the bunk bed. I crawled into it and it was nice and cool and safe it seems. It was rather hot up against the ceiling and this was nice. I was soon asleep.

It seemed like a few minutes later, I was awake. I just lay there and wondering if it was too soon to get up. It was still dark but what the heck, it could be early dark or late dark. I just lay there wide awake. I Will just try to go back to sleep. Aaaah, mebby I can. I wonder if Gary is awake. I look up. Nope! He is still sleeping! How the hell can he sleep like that anyway? I wonder if Santa has come yet?? I didn't hear him. I wonder???

It can't hurt to take a peek, if I am real quiet. I look around and feel my way to the opening in the blanket wall. No sound out there except the blower motor on the oil heater and a little snoring from my parents room. They left the door open to get heat. There is a little light from somewhere and in its dim glow I can see the table. Sorta. I can see the milk and cookies or rather what was left of them. Santa had been there!! Dang!

I look at Gary again and he is still out. What the hell do I do now. My dad will really get mad if I am up too early. I remember him saying something about 7am. I wonder if it is 7am yet. Is it still dark at 7am? I didn't know!

I tiptoed out and looked at the Christmas Tree. WOW!! Santa had been there and there were lots of presents!! Dang. I wonder if it is 7 yet. I walk over to where I can see the clock on the wall and it said 4:45, what the heck, that is almost 7 I figured. I sorta doubted my dad would see it that way though, neither would mom!! Geeeesh, what do I do now? Look at all those toys! And boxes!! I sure must have been good this year. What if they are all for Gary though. He didn't get in as much trouble as I did! Maybe they are all his!!

I just had to see if there were any for me so I quietly went over and peeked at a few tags. YES!! Some were mine!! I can not touch them! Dad would kill me. Maybe he would not on Christmas! Yes he would. Gotta be quiet.

I went back to the couch and just sat there looking at the tree with all the presents and there were some for ME!! It was not fare. Dumbass Gary could sleep like that and Mom and Dad were sleeping, I can still hear them. Dang, what do I do?

I decide to just get a little closer. I know I can not open them before everyone it up but I can just set by the dang tree can't I? I go over and look at the clock again. 4:55am. I know how to tell time because Mrs Shilling taught me how. She was my Kindergarten Teacher. 4:55 am sucks.

I set there an stare at the presents and there was no way I was gonna get back to sleep. I yawn sorta loud, a purpose I guess, hoping to see if someone would get up. No luck and I was not gonna try that again. Dad was not one to spare the strap and I was not gonna push it on Christmas morning. What to do?

I crept back into the bedroom and lay on my pile of bedding on the floor. I guess I just gotta go back to sleep. Dumbass old Gary a sleeping through Santa and all. It was not fare. He rarely got spanked, why spank him if Royal was handy. Mommy's pet I thought. Dang!

Aha!! I looked up to see him still a sawing logs. I accidentally kicked the bunk bed. I had to accidentally kick it enough to wake him up a bit but not wake Mom and Dad. Bang I kicked it again.

He turned over and said, "Huh, what?" and started going back to sleep. Oh no you don't! I leaned over and asked him what he wanted and accused him of waking me up. He said he didn't think he did but I countered with, "Now just what do you figure woke me up?" I was the oldest so I could lie better. I then said, "I wonder if Santa has been here?" he tried to go back to sleep. I ought to kick his arse!! Going back to sleep.

I said, "I don't think he left you anything" That got his attention. He looked around and whispered, "Do you think we can get up yet to see?" I told him that it was too early and he had better go back to sleep. But it might be OK to look if he was quiet. Hehehhehhehe;;He slid out of bed and carefully stepped over me, the boy had eyes like a bat! I told him to be very quiet and to just go peek. I lay there as he snuck out. I was giggling because I knew what was a coming..


Of course me being the oldest I told him it was too early and to come to bed. I heard my parents stirring and clearly heard my dad say, "That GD Royal put him up to that and I am gonna kill him! What time is it?" FIVE O'CLOCK??

My mother was in her housecoat and came out. I heard her say that Royal was still in bed and it was Gary. My dad said something like "Bull Shut" but came out rubbing his eyes. He looked in at me and said, "you might as well get up too! You got us all awake but you better not do this next year! 5 O'clock....geeesh"

Well we were in hog heaven for a time. Ripping the presents open and mom making breakfast and all. I got my slinky and my Angel fish but they did not last long. We knew nothing about tropical fish, other than that they had to be kept in warm water. I put them in a quart jar and sat them on the oil stove. Well I guess that was too warm. I put salt in the water to revive them but it didn't work...

Thank you for sharing one of my Christmas with me!!


Edited 3 time(s). Last edit at 12/22/2010 07:35AM by Royal.

Royal, I am sitting here laughing my butt off at your story..............
Posted by: Kelley (Texas)
Date: December 21, 2010 03:47PM
I remember those slinkys because my cousin Eddie got one for christmas one year. When we both wanted to play with it at the same time, it got stretched and never worked correctly again. Those were some of the best of times and kids now days have a different mind set and I don't think they sometimes enjoy christmas the same way we did. Thanks for sharing this story, I loved it. Kelley (Texas) :rofl:

"Try to live up to your dog's opinion of you!"

:clapping: Are you sure we were not twins:biggrin: ...........
Posted by: Wayne in BC
Date: December 21, 2010 04:09PM
that great story took me back near as many years and even made me feel a bit guilty:wink: :thumbup:
In case you did not know it, you also have a way with words my friend! I thoroughly appreciate all of our story tellers no matter how they do them!

A liar will assume you are lying

Re: :usaflag: Royal's Christmas story.
Posted by: Cupajo
Date: December 21, 2010 04:33PM
Pretty darn smart for a six year old!

Hell, I can't even remember ever being six.

Good story Royal,:thumbup:


Good times for sure Royal!!!N/T
Posted by: Buck
Date: December 21, 2010 04:58PM

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Tell ya what Royal ......
Posted by: Rob/Windsor, Ont.
Date: December 21, 2010 08:11PM
That was one great Christmas story ! Boy....does that ever bring back memories because I couldn't sleep Christmas eve's either. Was just saying to my brother last week that there was never anything as magical and exciting as seeing the lit tree with presents waiting for us kids in the wee hours of the A.M. Too early to get the folks up but boy did we want to. I thoroughly enjoyed every line of that story Royal and hated to see it come to an end. Now this story is what Christmas was and should still be about. Loved it !!! :clap:

Glad you liked it RobN/T
Posted by: Royal
Date: December 21, 2010 08:44PM

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There are just some things that stick in a kids head and
Posted by: Royal
Date: December 21, 2010 08:46PM
I have found that writing them down brings back a lot that had lain hidden. Thanks for reading


Thanks Buck:thumbup:N/T
Posted by: Royal
Date: December 21, 2010 08:47PM

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Excellent story Royal. Sure stirs up memories for me.
Posted by: George-CT
Date: December 21, 2010 09:08PM
Like you no sleep here either. Guess you needed salt water fish. Funny story. Your father sounds like my father was. Laid the law down pretty quick.


Re: :usaflag: Royal's Christmas story.N/T
Posted by: mudpuppy
Date: December 22, 2010 05:30AM

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Nasty words, and suggestive post.
Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 12/22/2010 05:35AM by mudpuppy.

Re: :usaflag: Royal's Christmas story.
Posted by: mudpuppy
Date: December 22, 2010 05:32AM
Nice Royal...You sure come up with some fine details to make a story really pull you in..."watching the starlings feed their babies"...wood floors, and turtle shells... when your old man put on that army helmet...Oh, Man...that was something...!
HaHa!..just great! Thanks!

Nasty words, and suggestive post.

Loved it!!! Thanks buddy!! Great memories and good times!!!!N/T
Posted by: Mikie
Date: December 22, 2010 08:38AM

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I bet that old tricycle in the pic is worth a few bucks today!!!N/T
Posted by: Buck
Date: December 22, 2010 10:48AM

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Royal Great story, made me think of long age Christmas, man there were fun. :thumbup:N/T
Posted by: Bayrat76
Date: December 23, 2010 10:12PM

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