Monday, December 22, 2014

hometown memories

On Facebook, I've joined a group of "Whittierites" that occasionally post some fun old pictures of the city that I grew up in.  I love looking at photos of the way things used to be, the way that I remember my childhood and my city.  I've seen parks and stores and even Whittier Blvd. the way that it was when I was growing up.

This particular photo and story truly touched me, though.  It isn't my house, it isn't my story, but it might as well be.  My parent's home looked very much like this one and the garb these kiddos are wearing looks extremely familiar, too.  As for the Christmas sentiments?  They are spot on.  They match my thoughts exactly.

I can remember my father taking this photo in the living room of our house on Parise Dr.  I also remember not knowing why we were getting presents, as I had no idea what Christmas was.
It wasn't until the following year that I was introduced to Santa Claus at the Whittwood Mall. He lived in a big shoe there during the Christmas season. I was told he was the one who left gifts beneath the tree. Worked for me.
In time, we grow to realize that it's our family that provides the season and that there are those that are less fortunate. So, as kids, we would donate what we could. Whether it be to a toy drive, or putting change in the red kettle outside of a super market.
I truly do appreciate the Christmas seasons that my family provided for my brothers and me. And it's not like I can sit here and recall every gift I got through the many years. We received fun stuff and nice clothes as many did. But what I appreciate the most, is the feeling that came with the season. The memory of our town, the lights that lit up the houses in our neighborhoods, and the warmth inside our homes.
There's something about the season that just feels special  It's not just a nation-wide sales pitch in which we express our love for others through merchandise. Perhaps we lighten up and treat each other the way we should all year. I'm not sure and I can't really put my finger on it, but all I know is that I like it.  I like decorating my little home inside and out.  I like time spent with family. I like the smell of Christmas trees and anything cooking in the oven. Most of all, I love the memories of past seasons growing up in Whittier.


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