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A Traditional Christmas

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A traditional Christmas that’s all I wanted, around the fire,chicken dinner kind of Christmas. A peck on the cheek under the mistletoe, best present ever, spending time with the family kind of Christmas. I never got this though... well I got some of it but most of it went badly wrong. This is my Christmas story.
It was the year 1949, the date was 23rd December. Two days to go, everyone was panicking except me as I am always organised for Christmas and this year was going to be the same as any other or so I thought. I had a present for everyone: Mother I had sewn a cotton apron, Father I saved up some of my weekly pay to buy some wood bines cigarettes, Dorothy I used an old jumper of mine which no longer fit and I reused the wool to make her a scarf for her thin neck to keep her warm. As I’m sure you can tell money was in short supply after the war. For Terry I also got some wood bines cigarettes. Speaking of Terry I hadn’t seen him in ages but we had agreed to meet up at the heart on the village green, right under the mistletoe, on 24th December very romantic.
My sister Dorothy is my only sibling and not so many Christmases ago we both wanted the same thing for Christmas… for our Father to come home. When he wasn’t home on Christmas Day Dorothy started to loose hope I could see it in her eyes. When he wasn’t home for Christmas morning Mother broke down. I was the only one able to stay strong for the family. We had all settled down for our Christmas dinner which was now slightly cold as Mother had broken down again so I had had to finish the meal. We all sat around the small dining table when there was a knock at the door. Dorothy looked up at Mother hopefully but she just shook her head and said “Auntie Cathy”. I was excused from the table to go and answer the door. To my amazement a man stood at the door, I opened it and there stood with not a scratch on him, my Father. Neither of us spoke we both just smiled and even though I was at the time aged 17 my Father still managed to lift me up and sweep me off my feet, doing so he made me laugh and I hugged him tight as if I didn’t want to ever let him go.
That was four years ago and now it’s the same time of year but so much has changed obviously my age but also now I have Terry, my boyfriend. We met at the heart of the village green under the mistletoe as I have already mentioned. I arrived early and had some time to kill so looked around at our small country village, it meant so much to me. The tree paid for by the council was gigantic this year, covered in white snow and bright Christmas lights. I could hear the school choir singing, I used to be one of those small children with Christmas bells singing. This year one of the children must have made a star in woodwork class as it was placed carefully on top of the tree. I also saw a small boy clutching probably his only Christmas present a small nativity. All I could smell was roasted chestnuts and pine needles. I really love Christmas was all I could think. Someone then tapped me on the shoulder even in my wool coat I shivered.
I turned around to see him, his brown wavy hair moving ever so slightly in the wind, his green eyes mesmerise me even now. I turned to look at Terry. Even now I feel lucky having him with me. I don’t deserve him really I don’t. We met when I was working in a grocery store, he came in and asked for a pound of carrots and as I was packing them he asked what I was doing that night. That’s how it started.
So I asked him to meet me in the village green, he walked over to me put his hands over my eyes and then said guess who? I guessed and got the answer right as I can tell his voice very easily. When he let go of my head I turned around and he kissed me lightly on the nose and took my hand and we walked over to a park bench a little way away from the choir, somewhere more private. We had decided to give each other presents early so I pulled out the now wrapped in newspaper woodbine cigarettes, which he opened and loved and then said “You can never have too many cigarettes!” then he laughed and lit one straight away, blowing the sweet smoke in my face.
I love the smell but father says it is only for men to smoke the stupid part of this is that everyone in the family smokes apart from me and Dorothy as Dorothy is only 15.
Next he gave me a small parcel also wrapped in newspaper, it was about the size of a toilet roll tube probably smaller but inside it was a tube of Black Bullet sweets. My favourite but very expensive! I hugged him and opened them and took a sweet as I loved their mint flavour nearly as much as I loved the sent of tobacco. Underneath the top sweet was a ring, an engagement ring. Terry picked up the ring and got down on one knee and then spoke.
“Jenny, we have had the best times together, from the day we met in the grocery store, till today. I love you with all my heart and want to spend the rest of my life with you. I know you are young as am I, we are meant to be together, I have already asked for your father’s permission, so Jennifer Anderson will you marry me?”
Everything around me was spinning all I could see was Terry and the ring. Then I replied.
“Yes, of course I will Terry, I love you!” Then I smiled as he slid the ring on my finger. As soon as the ring was on my finger, Terry kissed me and then I grabbed his hand and pulled him across the road.
For a second I was the happiest girl in the world, money didn’t matter, I had a loving mother and father, I had a sister soon to be my bridesmaid (wait till I tell her!) and best of all I had Terry. I didn’t need to worry about the other women looking at him anymore, I didn’t need to feel worried if he went into town without me that he may end up with someone else, as now he was tied to me, tied in everyway humanly possible. Until the vehicle came as we both crossed the road. Its my own fault I know, I have had many hours to reflect on that now. It was all my fault as I soon realised sitting next to his hospital bed, stroking his head, praying. If only I had looked I am the stupidest women on the planet.
A traditional Christmas that’s all I wanted, around the fire, chicken dinner kind of Christmas. A peck on the cheek under the mistletoe, best present ever, spending time with the family kind of Christmas. I never got this though... well I got some of it but most of it went badly wrong.
“Terrance Edward Williams died shortly after he was hit by a moving vehicle in the small town of Newbridge on the 24th December 1949, on his last night of life he became engaged to Jennifer Elizabeth Anderson, both were 21 years of age. Miss Anderson is distraught and has recently discovered she is pregnant with the deceased’s child”
Now you know my Christmas story of 1949.



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