Week 51: Holidays

One of my earliest memories is of a Christmas in the early 1940s at my Grandma Quist’s house on Newberry Avenue in Libertyville, Illinois.

Joan at about 3 years old

The year was probably 1942 or 43. I was around 3 years old.

This is one of those life pictures imprinted on my brain. This was a war years Christmas. Several of my Mom’s sisters were dating or married to young men who had signed up or been drafted to go off to war. On this particular Christmas most of my Mom’s family gathered at the house on Newberry including the young men in military uniforms… Uncle Tom Pergakis in dark blue navy, Uncle Art Parmalee was navy I think, Uncle Ed Quist in navy blues.

There was a big lighted tree with presents piled around. I was the youngest one there. My uncles Rick and Less would have been 7 or 8, my aunt Jean about 10. So we kids benefitted from all the other siblings giving us little ones gifts. Mom had eleven siblings and I think they were all there along with their significant others.

So why is this memorable? I received two gifts that I treasured. First was a huge stuffed bear, probably 18 inches tall, with red velveteen pants and suspenders. He was soft and cuddly and lasted for many years. The other gift from one of the military uncles was an orange wooden airplane with black lettering. It was about a foot long. I recall running around with my little uncles, “flying” the plane through the house.

I think another reason this Christmas is so memorable is because of the emotions of the time. The War…WW2…and the war effort was THE topic of the times. All the men in the family who were eligible and healthy had enlisted. They all survived! All the women of working age (except Grandma Quist) worked at Abbott Labs on the blood plasma line (which my Dad supervised).

Have I remembered it all correctly? Who knows? Maybe this memory of a three year old is a collection of memories, of family times. Whatever…it is firmly embedded in my brain like it happened yesterday.

2 thoughts on “Week 51: Holidays”

  1. Joan, I am so enjoying your blog. I don’t always have time to comment or even like but know that I do like it. Some of my memories I wonder about also. As kids we do take in a lot and then it sometimes gets twisted around to make it work for our brains. But no worries, it is what it is.


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