I loved collecting stuff when I was little. Paper dolls, pine cones, rocks, shells, cicada skeletons and marbles that were special to me. As well as stuff I saved to “make things” with, like empty paper towel rolls, scraps of cloth, buttons and tin foil (I was convinced that I could somehow make a diamond with that beautiful shiny tin foil). When I was 8 years old, my mom gave me a huge old suitcase to store my precious junk. It fit perfectly under my bed and it was filled with little zippers and pockets where I could store things. I was thrilled. I would spend hours looking through it all and rearranging everything. Even now I have a small “treasure box” on my dresser that has little memories stuffed in it.
As a little kid I spent hours and hours outside with my sisters. We played mermaids and “lost girls” (which involved hours of pretending we were lost and trying to survive on our own), we made mud pies and huge vats of mud “soup”. And we spent tons of time coming up with one “secret” club after another. I’m not sure what was so secret about them, since everyone was allowed to join, but we loved creating the clubhouses and rules of the club. Everyone had a job (I was usually the “idea person”) and we would have meetings and delegate special projects and color pictures together. I’m not really sure what the point of the clubs was, because as soon as we came up with all the rules and agendas, we would forget about that club and a few weeks later create a new one from scratch. I think we had the most fun creating clubs, not participating in them.
We almost always ate dinner together as a family, and there was usually plenty of food. We watched old black and white movies together one night a week or so, and made huge vats of buttered popcorn that always ended up all over the living room floor. My mom used to read books aloud in the evenings while we worked on our different craft projects or played around. I loved the “Little House” books so much that I could quote some of them from memory. We also read epics like “The Prince and the Pauper” and “Heidi”. Sometimes we played games as a family, like Clue or Sequence. There was some of the usual drama, but I have mostly good memories of family evenings.
We made lots of cookies, and had plenty of Nuts and Egg Nog on hand. The little kids would got to the dollar store and get a candle or candy bar for their “special people”. Us older kids would get what we could, or sometimes make homemade gifts. Some years there weren’t that many gifts, other years there were more. But Christmas day wasn’t really about the gifts, lots of times the gifts were full of “expectations”.
The good memories are more about how the whole of Christmas day was always reserved for just us, and we always had stockings! Even though my family didn’t do Santa, our stockings were always loaded with little treasures and treats. We could put everything back in our stocking with our name on it and no one else could touch it. 🙂 We stayed in our pajama’s most of the day and played with new toys or games or books.