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Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Unexpected Best Christmas

Unexpected Best Christmas 1954
The following is an excerpt from a book I am presently writing (working title: East Lincoln);
By the time Christmas Eve 1954 arrived we were happy and healthy, even well fed but no gifts were in sight, and while Christmas was always wonderful, only a miracle could save this one.  Soon after dinner, my mother announced that it was time to go to bed.  It was a dry cold winter day, and the idea of being under the covers sounded like a good idea to me.  I never said anything to my parents, but I just couldn’t understand why we couldn’t have some presents to open.  Our family was not rich, but we were never broke enough that we couldn’t celebrate a nice Christmas.  The extra legal expenses, and dragged out time to become U.S. permanent residents had affected our budget.
I could still hear my parents talking as I eventually closed my eyes and fell asleep.  My sister was close by and she had also fallen asleep.  I don’t remember how much time went by, but I was awakened by a loud knock on the door, and my father was awakened from a deep sleep but ran to answer the knocks at the door that seemed to have some urgency behind them.  My first thought was that it must be Santa Claus who finally realized that he accidentally missed our house, and since we didn’t have a fireplace he decided to knock (keep in mind that I was 7 years old).
My uncle's Christmas Sleigh
As the door was opened I could hear some happy conversation going on, so I decided to get out of bed and join my father at the door.  To my surprise, the person standing there was a man that I came to equate with someone as good and kind as Santa Claus himself.  It was my uncle Ramon, he was my father’s brother, who lived in Salinas California, and was helping our immigration process from the U.S. side, with attorneys from the North side of the border.
My uncle and his family were visiting in Los Angeles for Christmas with close family members on his wife’s side, and couldn’t get our family out of his mind, so he went shopping and drove 250 miles one way to deliver (literally) a car load of Christmas gifts for everyone in my family.  He could only visit for a couple of hours because he had to get back home to his own family in time to open gifts on Christmas day.  Besides some very special toys that I still remember, he brought clothes, and blankets, food, candy, and he gave my father and mother some money that my father only accepted as a loan.
As part of the conversation, he shared with my father that he had to bribe a border guard on the Mexican side to bring the toys across the border, but that it was worth it.  The memorable toys that I still remember getting were, a police patrol car with working lights on top, and headlights and a siren operated by batteries and controlled in a small box from a wired lead about 3 feet long (he also brought extra batteries).  I also got an electric HO scale train with tracks, station, crossings and all.  My sister got a couple of large dolls, a couple of dish sets, clothes, and shoes.  My uncle owned a very successful construction company, and loved family.  I spent the rest of my life making sure that my family always has a nice life and merry Christmas (always trying to be like my uncle Ramon).  The best is yet to come….

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