Thursday, December 21, 2017

Would I Change Anything? by Katherine Pym


I’d change a few things but they are too sad. Instead, I’ll tell you a story.

My Mom
When I was a child we lived in Wisconsin where the kids ran wild. No one feared falling off a bike and breaking your head. We were told never to talk to strangers. Our parents expected us to obey this dictate and allowed us to run and play in the fields or explore the woods on the hill above our house.

During winter, it took mom a long time to gear us up in snowsuits, scarves, mittens and boots. We put socks over our shoes inside the boots, hoping to keep our feet warm. We ate snow until I ingested something yellow. We sucked on icicles that had fallen into the snow. I worried about sitting against the house, though, with icicles hanging off eaves. One of those careening toward your head wouldn’t be good. 
Gramma Brunn? Similar but not.

I was in transition when it came to Santa Claus. I was the eldest child in our family and I ran with the older kids in the neighborhood. Connie lived next door. She did not believe in Santa but Christmas was coming and I wasn’t sure. I told her I’d wait and see what the season brought.

My maternal grandmother died when my mom was nine. She had been shuttled from one relative to another during her formative years and pretty much raised herself. When I was still very young, an old lady and her son moved across the street. Her name was Laura Brunn. Rudy was a big man and a bachelor. He did not smoke cigarettes or a pipe, but he wheezed.

Gramma Brunn became the mother my mom never had. She taught her to bake wonderful German cakes and pies, cook dishes my mother would never have known, pickle almost everything left on the plate. Gramma Brunn babysat and we children loved her.

Back to Christmas and Santa Claus.
I was getting up there in age, about 6 or so, a big girl and should understand big things. Connie said there was no Santa Claus but mom and dad said there was. Would my parents lie? Connie shook her head and very seriously whispered, ‘There is no Santa.’

Rudy as Father Christmas
On Christmas day a big old Santa came to our house. He carried a bag over his shoulder. I wore pretty pink bib-overalls with lace along the shoulder straps. I felt special and grown up but I did not like the Santa Claus. He wheezed like Rudy who had never been very nice to us kids. He did not like it when we covered his sidewalk with chalk pictures or chased a dog through his yard. He was not like Gramma Brunn.

He wheezed his way through the bag, giving everyone a gift. Gramma Brunn sat on a chair watching with a cup of coffee in her hand, her white hair like a halo in the morning sun. Mom stood near her with a smile on her face.

Once Santa left, we played with our new toys. Afterward, Connie asked me if I believed in Santa. Even though Santa sounded like Rudy, I said, ‘I just don’t know.’

Many thanks to Wikicommons, Public Domain

1 comment:

  1. Sweet story! Love the pictures. An older neighbor boy told me, when I was six, that there was no Santa Claus. I was stunned, asked my mom, and she admitted it. Sounds like your childhood was similar to mine, minus the freezing winters.