Posted tagged ‘uptown’

“Yes! Yes I do! I like Christmas! I love Christmas!”

December 10, 2017

Winter wonderland skipped us. We got rain the whole day, heavy rain at times. In the late afternoon, when I let Gracie out and brought trash to the car at the same time, we both got soaked. She wasn’t thrilled. My sister got around 6 inches of snow. I watched the news and saw the snow in Texas, an unusual occurrence in San Antonio. I laughed out-loud when a kid did a snow angel. Obviously snow was new to him. He did the angel face down.

Yesterday was a day of doing little for me. I made four or five trips carrying stuff like the displaced by the tree living furniture upstairs, wrote out more cards and went through catalogs but mostly I just sat. All the hauling up and down stairs made me tired. Today I have more energy and a to-do list. Gracie and I are going to the dump, to the small grocery store for bread and such and Agway for cat and dog food. I will decorate my wreaths and put them outside, and I’ll bring up bins from the cellar with the tree lights and some decorations. If I have any energy left, I’ll at least put on the tree lights. Tonight I’ll make myself a nice dinner and have some egg nog and watch Hallmark.

When I was a kid, Santa Claus had power over me. If I did anything wrong or fought with my brother, my mother threatened to call Santa. That was enough to get us to stop. I remember trips to Jordan Marsh to visit Santa. We’d take the bus to Sullivan Square then the subway to the Jordan’s stop. In those days Jordan’s and Filene’s had entrances from the stores to the subway. They were destinations.

I love Boston at Christmas time. The city is filled with people, some shopping, some just enjoying the festivities. The trees in the Common are lit for the holiday. Frog Pond is open for skating or for just sitting and watching the skaters while drinking a cup of cocoa. The giant tree from Nova Scotia is covered in lights. Small push wagons around the common sell roasted chestnuts and hot popcorn. Garlands hang from stores and street lights. People just seem happier.

My town was always decorated for Christmas. Swags of evergreen were hung from one side of the main street to the other. The store windows had trees and wrapped gifts and Santas. Carolers sang every night. The aroma of sugar cookies and bread wafted from Hank’s Bakery and hung in the air. The fire station was outlined in lights, and Santa was climbing a ladder to the chimney. I loved going uptown at night, and I still remember singing in the square.

I get excited for Christmas even now. I love the lights, and I could eat a dozen sugar cookies. Christmas music plays in the car and around the house when I’m decorating or baking. I sing along, out of tune, but that doesn’t matter. It’s Christmas!

“When I was a kid, we never heard of smog, ozone depletion, acid rain, green house gasses.”

April 21, 2017

The day is overcast and dark. It’s raining again. Rain always makes me lazy. I have nowhere to go and nothing to do except water the plants, and I’m delighted. The house feels chilly so I have draped the afghan over my shoulders. I’m thinking all I need is a rocking chair and some knitting to complete the picture.

When I was a kid, I didn’t care about the rain. I didn’t care about getting wet. This was always spring vacation week and no day could be wasted, especially Friday, the last day. I think my mother applauded when we went outside, and I remember her gleeful goodbyes as we shut the door behind us.

We didn’t ever have a plan or a destination. We just walked. Our usual route was walking by the town barn to see the horses then we’d cut across the back lawn of the town hall and go uptown. We mostly window shopped. From there, our route often varied. Once in a while we’d walk to the zoo or we’d do the tracks again, the ones near my grandparents. When I was young, the train still ran a couple of times a day. The train stopped at the chemical plant then continued to the station, the end of the line, where the engine was switched to the back, now the front. Sometimes we were lucky enough to b there to watch. I remember putting a penny on the rail so the train could flatten it.

We’d head home when we were hungry or really soaked and cold. My mother would send us right down the cellar to take off and leave our wet shoes. I remember leaving footprints on the floor from my wet socks. The trail led from the cellar door to the living room to the stairs to the bedroom where I’d put on dry clothes and dry socks.

For the rest of the afternoon, we’d watch TV. We’d eat Oreos and drink milk. I was a dunker. I think that’s why I love biscotti.

I love listening to the rain and watching it fall. I don’t love getting soaked and cold. I do love Oreos.

“Like snowflakes, my Christmas memories gather and dance – each beautiful, unique and too soon gone.”

December 3, 2012

This is an alternative universe. It just has to be as mine doesn’t have sun or temperatures in the 50’s, at least not in December. Today and yesterday have been amazing. Though it rained a little yesterday, it was so warm all day that even at 11 o’clock last night it was still 51˚. Today is just as warm, and there is actually sun, a glowing orb in the sky I barely recognized. It’s a day to be outside enjoying a bit of a breather from winter.

The birds are back. This morning was like a busy day at O’Hare. My friends the chickadees have returned, as have goldfinches, a titmouse, woodpeckers who are enjoying my new suet feeder and the nuthatches who have been, for a while, my only visitors. Yesterday it was two house finches. When I stand at the sink, I look out the window behind it to get the best view of the birds and the feeders. I’m glad to have them back though now I need more sunflower seeds.

My outside lights went up yesterday and were lit last night. I drove around the block so I could see the whole house. It looks lovely, especially the huge star with trailing tails of lights which hangs on the driveway gate and the ornament tree lit by the spotlight. I noticed the sled near the door and the wreath on the front gate could use a bit of light so that will be my quest today, to find exactly the right strands. I also want to flower shop, to buy my poinsettias and boxwood. The rosemary tree is already on order. I love decorating my house for Christmas, and this is only the beginning.

The town where I grew up always decorated the fire station, the town hall and the square. The brick fire station was my favorite. Colored lights outlined the whole building and Santa climbed a ladder on the siren tower. In the square, decorations were strung from one side of the street to the other. A giant wreath was hung on the front of the police box which used to stand in the middle of Main Street. All the stores decorated their windows. Even the fish market had snowflakes falling on the mounds of snow at the bottom of the window, but you could still see the lobster tank.

In those days, the square had the only shops in town. Carolers from the different elementary schools sang each night on the stage which was erected just for Christmas. The sidewalks were filled with people, and you could hear them wishing each other a Merry Christmas. I loved being there just as it started to get dark and the Christmas lights were lit. It was like a fairyland.

“We used to build civilizations. Now we build shopping malls.”

April 9, 2010

The rain started gently this morning in a mist. It’s a quiet rain. If today were a summer day, I’d be on the deck under the umbrella.

Uptown was a special place when I was a kid. The square was always filled with people shopping. Old women, wearing dresses and hats and light coats in mostly dark colors, used to walk and pull their carts behind them. The carts were filled with packages wrapped in brown paper. Younger women pushed carriages or held their kids’ hands. I never remember seeing many fathers except at the barber shop and the Chinaman’s. Women shopped. Men did errands.

People stood under the theater marquee waiting for a bus. The buses were big and noisy, and their brakes always squealed when the drivers stopped. You could go to Medford Square and do some shopping or Sullivan Square to get the subway into Boston or Arlington Center through Winchester. The taxi stand was in front of Kennedy’s Market, but most people walked.

My favorite stop was the fish market. Even on the sidewalk I could still smell the fish, but I didn’t care. I use to lean my head against the window and watch the lobsters swimming in their pool. I could also see the fishmongers behind the counter. They wore dirty white aprons tied at the neck and waist, and they were always men. At Hank’s Bakery, the windows were filled with cookies and cupcakes and a pretty cake or two. It was always women who waited on you at Hank’s.

Where I live now has no square, no uptown. The stores are in a strip mall, and they are the same stores you find everywhere. The parking lot is always filled. Nobody walks. Everyone is always in a rush. I mostly go to the  supermarket. It has everything I need, but it has no character. It doesn’t even have windows.