Christmas at Woodland

(taken from Robert Moroni MICHIE's History)

Christmas Recollections of

Myrtle Lizetta MICHIE WILCKEN

(1888 - 1972)

daughter of Robert Moroni and Elena Dorothy LAMBERT MICHIE


"The Holly and The Ivy"*

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Christmas was the day of days. We knew Old Santa would be sure to come for he always had made his visit. We got so much joy from helping Mother clean the house and do the cooking to get ready for Santa Claus. We usually hung our stocking on the back of chairs, placed in a row in the center of the large living room. Things too large for our stockings were put on the chair. Some times we had a beautiful Christmas tree. Christmas morning we always woke early.

I remember a Christmas when I was about seven years old, my older sister, Gene (Eugenia) was about nine years old, and my younger sister, Gen (Genevieve), was about five years old. We awoke to complete darkness, since all that was left of the fire in the stove were a few coals banked too deep in the ashes to give any light. Gene whispered, "I wonder if Santa Claus came."

"Don't know," I said.

"Sneak out of bed and feel the stockings," she said. I, being on the side of the bed nearest the stockings quietly stepped out of bed and gingerly reached out to feel the stockings. Sure enough they were stuffed. Yes, Old Santa had come. Quickly my other two sisters climbed out to make sure there was no mistake.

Then we ran to the bedroom shouting, "Pa, Pa, wake up! Make a light! Old Santa Clause has come!"

Father said, "What?" We repeated it. "Well, well, well! For the Land's sake! Are you sure he came?"

"Yes, sure," we said. Father meanwhile was out of bed pulling on his trousers and lighting the lamp. We followed or ran ahead to show him the wonders and prove the fact. Father stood and gazed in surprise and wonderment as he said,

"Sure enough, he has been here, that silly old man!"

"No, he ain't silly. He's a nice old man," we said. (He had teased us the night before by saying Santa would bring us a pig's ear and a stick.) Father shoved us back into bed while he built the fire and it got warm enough so we could inspect the wonderful things Old Santa had left us. By this time Mother was up and dressed and we showed her all the lovely things.

We girls got a fascinator (a combination scarf and hood) to wear to Sunday School, also new ribbons for our hair. Each got one nice toy and a story book and all got candy and nuts. We were too excited to eat much breakfast, and mother was busy getting us ready to go to the children's dance. We always had a new dress for Christmas. These were worn for all occasions, dances, parties, and Sunday best all winter and until warm weather came.

Father owned a set of sleigh bells which were the largest, nicest sounding of any I have ever heard. It was such fun to go sleigh riding on the way to Sunday School or anyplace we went. We girls didn't like it at all when Uncle Will, father's younger brother borrowed the bells when he took his best girl for a sleigh ride.

On Christmas Day everybody came out to the dance. All the parents danced with their children and taught them how to dance. We loved it when old "Hen" (Henry) Walker brought his fiddle and played for us. He was a wonderful old-time fiddler who always played by ear, but he had music in his soul and often improvised music for a waltz. People from all around came to the dance when they heard that Mr. Walker would be there

Later we went to Grandma Michie's house for Christmas dinner, where all the family were assembled and we had so much fun playing with our cousins and feasting on the good things Grandma cooked, including her traditional English plum pudding. In the evening at home Father read stories to us from our new story books after the chores were done. These were indeed happy times.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

Some editorial license was used in telling this story. If you would like to read Myrtle's unedited version, you may go to her history of her father, Robert Moroni MICHIE. ~Venita

*"The Holly and The Ivy," traditional, from the album, Kurt Bestor, One Silent Night, Featuring Kurt Bestor on solo piano, ©1997 BWE Music, 55 North 300 West, Suite 315, Salt Lake City, Utah, 84110


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