Sunday, May 1, 2016

"More Christmas Stories," from HOME IS WHERE...

I have written a lot about Christmas. I have a few stories that I'll call my favorites; the first, of course, is where my father had the hole in the floor next to his chair and a string attached to the sleigh bells that he jingled as we watched out the window, being convinced we had heard Santa Claus every Christmas. For Grandma Blake, I think the sight of our unwrapping our gifts was a joy to her. Mommy always made sure each pile was the same number of gifts.

         One Christmas, young Leon gave me a wedding ring set. It wasn't real, but it was beautiful.

         Another Christmas, I had seen the shoes that I was getting: mint green with an elastic loop and button. I also got a sweater and slacks that were the same color as the shoes. I felt so fancy.

         Another Christmas, we each asked for a watch. We each got a beautiful watch.

         Another time, I got a bracelet that was all bells; this was second grade, so Mrs. Collins’’s blood pressure lasted only about one hour until I had to take the bracelet off.

         Then of course we have the Christmases of 1962 and 1963 when Kenny was my boyfriend. 1963 started out okay, trying to figure out what to get him. I finally decided on an I.D. bracelet and sweater. The relationship started to bottom out when he gave me the boot and ruined it all.

         One Christmas I went to Leon's for a day or two. I was 12, so it wasn't a romantic thing, only snowball fights and meeting his new friends that he'd met at his new school. Then the romance was over for good.

         One year in elementary school, while I was still Leon's girlfriend, another boy in our class, Curtis Brown, gave me his mother's jewelry: a real wedding set, a pair of diamond earrings, and a fish pin with diamonds. Of course, when she found out they were gone, I had to give them all back.

         When I was 14, Mom gave me permission to get my ears pierced. Doreen had already had hers done. We then got earrings for Christmas and birthdays and from our boyfriends.

         Doreen, who started dating before me, was always looking for The Ring every birthday and Christmas, but was always let down. On Christmas of her graduating year, she thought This Is It, only to find, after unwrapping the present, a Lady Schick razor. Wow, was she mad! 


We are serializing Kathleen Blake Shields's charming HOME IS WHERE THE STORY BEGINS: Memoir of a Happy Childhood, published in 2015 by Outskirts Press and available in paperback format from,, and other online booksellers.

I am proud to have coached Kathy and edited her book. You are invited to my site Write Your Book with Me

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