Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Castle Christmas

The king of all Renae and I's kidhood Christmases was 1982 (Renae, correct me if I am wrong in the year). It was the one we talked about for years after, the yard-stick Christmas by which we measured all the following Christmases. It was also the year that Mom and Dad were just about the poorest they ever were, what with Olin having laid Dad off for a large portion of that year.

No, we didn't have one of those wierd "no gifts, just focus on the true meaning" Christmases... maybe that works for some people but it just sounds bad to me.*

We were 9 and 7, I think. We didn't know, and I still don't exactly know how poor we were, but we knew there was alot of stress at the adult level in the house. Looking back, I am sure that there was not much money available for presents. We were blessed, however, with a creative and upbeat Mom. Christmas morning we woke up to find the living room transformed into something like a mideval village. Castles, Towers, and even a peasants hut filled the living room.

Our mom had gotten a hold of half a dozen cardboard appliance boxes, and with some paint, a box knife or two and some skills from her art major days, she turned these boxes into castles. They were big enough for me and Renae to stand up in, walk around in, sit down in. Standing up we could just see over the battlements of the castles- just like in a real castle!

We were jazzed! They were the coolest presents we had ever had!

Hidden inside the castles, hut and towers were our other presents. I got a telescope- a real one- I was into astronomy at the time, and so was my dad. And I got a book- The Forbidden Castle- a choose your own adventure- and a few other odds and ends that I don't remember.

I remember every day during that Christmas break dragging one of my castles (they were open to the floor on the bottom, open to the sky on the top) to surround one of the heater vents and sit down inside my castle to read "The Forbidden Castle". The castle would get all kinds of toasty on the inside. It was pure comfort!

Later that year, we wound up using the castles as props/set for a play that our cubscout den put on. We were the envy of all the other dens.

We had an awesome childhood. We got lucky when we were born. I wish every kid could grow up poor, but with a clever mom. 1982 ended, Dad's job unlaid him off, money got a little better- and evantually alot better- but for shear Christmas morning ZOowwieeeeee! the no other Christmas ever passed up the Castle Christmas.
*(after all, Isaiah 9:3 - just three verses before the more famous Christmassy "and his name shall be called Wonderful..." reads: " Thou hast multiplied the nation, and not increased the joy: they joy before thee according to the joy in harvest, and as men rejoice when they divide the spoil." Christmas should include dividing some spoil.)


Brad Carter said...

I remember performing a play with you and Renae in the castle with your mom and dad being the audience. Or maybe Renae was in the audience too, I can't remember. You wrote the entire script for the play and the only part I remember is the beginning where you had me chanting some weird spell thing over a pot.

So where did your parents hide all this castle stuff until Christmas morning? Did they just lock you out of the basement for weeks before Christmas?

Anonymous said...

yeah you were definately in that play. So was Chris L, and Renae also managed to be in a cub scout play somehow- she was the queen, Chris L was the king. I remember being frustrated at the wimpy way he killed the dragon at the end- he just bipped it once on the head with his sword, and yawned while he did it. I think you were the evil wizard.

I think mom stashed this stuff in granpa's store- although, being boxes they would have all folded up nice and skinny and hid anywhere.


timpani76 said...

Are you trying to make me and Renae feel better about raising our kids in the poor house ;)

Renae mentioned something about this Christmas in my kids blog, on the comments. It sounded like silly willy fun fun, and totally something I would be able to do some Christmas!

In similar news, I took the cardboard trees from Vance's Jungle theme party and nailed them up in his room. He loves his jungle tree walls to go with his Monkey Jungle bed (what he calls his big bed after we bought him monkey themed sheets).

Renae said...

Yes, that was the BEST Christmas! Mom hid the houses in the room that later became my bedroom in the basement. Don't you remember the door being mysteriously locked for a while? I always had to be married to Chris. He was the tallest, and I was the only girl. I also played Mary opposite Chris as Joseph for some cubscout thing where we visited a nursing home. I'll have to work on being a good creative mommy. I have my moments, but I could definitly use a lot improvement!