Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Anticipating Christmas

I was as guilty as everyone else in my desire to pretend nothing was happening at Camp Nine, and with my first sight of an autumn leaf in October, I welcomed the thoughts of Christmas vacation that began creeping into my head. The reedy, echoing sound of a woodpecker indicated the thinning of the air that foretold coming holidays even before the landscape changed. These sight and sounds primed me to drift away from my lessons, down deep into a fantasy of the boxes Mother kept up the dark stairs in our gloomy attic, which was illuminated by a solitary four-paned window through which light barely filtered. While my teacher deadened my reality by scratching fractions on the chalkboard, my mind climbed the stairs with anticipation, searching among the dusty cardboard boxes stuffed with satin Hallowween costumes, baby toys, and clothes since discarded, until I found the holy grail of the season - the glittery glass ornaments and velvet skirt for our tree.

It seemed to snow more then than now, and, too young to appreciate the difficulty that accompanied the occasional dumping of heavy snow, I was always enchanted by it. Along with a welcome snowfall, Christmas was a time for special treats, like the multi-colored iced molasses cookies baked each morning by Mrs. Capps down the road and the oranges Mother ordered for me from New Orleans.

Today's quote comes from Camp Nine by Vivienne Schiffer.

I can't help wonder what the equivalent to oranges is now. It is often said that the children of the past looked forward to an exotic treat each Christmas when they all got an orange.


  1. I read Camp Nine earlier this month and quite enjoyed it. It also has my favorite cover of the year.

    As far as the modern equivalent of oranges? I don't know that there is one. It seems like video games are the hot ticket these days...but I don't consider those exotic.

  2. I don't know that there is really either. Closest I came was Ipad which isn't really exotic but every kid over a certain age seems to want one.

  3. Oranges weren't exotic when I was a child in the 1940s, since we had them in the summer. But my dad's sister would send us a box of oranges from Florida each December. It was a treat to have them out of season in Tennessee.

    I had already typed in "Almost Christmas" as the title for tonight's post, but changed it to "Anticipating Christmas" when I saw your title. I hope you don't mind. It's perfect for the first photo I posted:

  4. I so want to read this book when I can! I also have heard about the orange in the stocking from my grandmother and other older relatives, and always find it amusing and charming!

  5. sounds like such a good book and I still look forward to Christmas oranges. Have a Merry Christmas.

  6. I used to love getting those little book-shaped packages of Lifesavers, with all the rolls of different flavours that you never saw in the variety stores. Now of course all I see are the lists of artificial colourings and flavourings; I should have been eating oranges!