Nostalgic Christmas Part 2: Abe and Angels
Another reason I’m calling this the Year of the Nostalgic Christmas is Abraham Lincoln. Not the president, really, but the children’s picture book from 1939.
When I was very young, the library at St. John’s Lutheran School had a copy of this book, and I checked it out often. I couldn’t get enough of the illustrations. I didn’t know that the book was by sophisticated artists who had won the Caldecott Medal in 1940.
Last week I went to a bookstore in Wichita with my son (Eighth Day Books, I highly recommend it), and in their beautiful children’s section, I was drawn to the book again.
Every page felt like an old friend. It warmed my heart to page through it, and of course I bought it. I’ll read it over and over for a few weeks or months, and then I’ll send it to my grandchildren. I’ll tell them the story of how I borrowed this book again and again, and when I visit, I’ll read it to them. I’ll give them a piece of my childhood.
Along with Abe Lincoln, I ran into some angels on eBay with whom I have a long history. Every year while growing up, we’d pull the Christmas decorations out of the attic in our two-story farmhouse. I didn’t like going up there because once I’d seen the skeleton of a mouse! But we’d drag all the boxes downstairs and do our decorating.
We had angels like these, but several were broken. So we couldn’t spell “NOEL.” We might have been able to spell “LO.”
I don’t think we even had enough to spell “OLE.” How you pronounce that depends on whether you lean toward Scandinavian or Spanish. Anyway.
If we’d had three letters we might have spelled “LEO” but we didn’t. And this bothered me greatly. I hated it that we had these beautiful angels but couldn’t spell NOEL. It has always bothered me. (And you’re thinking that if this is the worst problem in my life, I’ve been lucky. It isn’t the worst problem, but you’re right, I have been lucky.) Anyway.
When I spotted a complete set on eBay for a reasonable price, I snatched them up! I finally have NOEL and my Christmas is complete. Almost.
While I was in nostalgia mode, I decided to pull out all the stops. I started thinking about tiny golden angels playing instruments. We had some in the ’60s and I adored them. But like most family Christmas decorations, they disappeared over the years.
And then, as if by magic, I saw an entire orchestra of golden angels in a local thrift store last week! They were not priced, so I asked how much. “I don’t know, what do you think?” said the guy. “I’m not sure,” I hedged. I was hoping he wouldn’t ask more than $5 each. “Maybe $1.50 for the whole lot?” he asked.
And NOW my Christmas is complete.
Did you read about Chatty Cathy?