My mother used to "hide" our Christmas gifts in different places in the days leading up to the Big Day. We found the first hiding place, at least that I can remember, in the closet under the stairs. I was about six then, I think. Then she shifted her stash to her bedroom, a place off-limits to children unless we were invited in. The door was almost always locked, but through the keyhole we could see a big mound covered with a sheet. We knew Santa brought most of our gifts, of course, but we also knew that our parents provided some--and that mound was s-o-o-o mysterious!
Today Judi Tarowsky of Saint Clairsville, Ohio, shares her earlies Christmas memory. Judi has family roots in Gilmer county, West Virginia and she is currently president of the WV Storytelling Guild.
The first Christmas I can remember was when I was a little over 2 years old, and we were living in a two-story house on Fairmont Street in New Castle, PA. I was a restless sleeper, so I was still in my crib. My mother was afraid I’d toss myself onto the floor if I were in a “big girl” bed.
Although I’m sure I had heard all the excitement about Christmas, it hadn’t yet registered with me about Christmas morning and a visit from Santa Claus. My memory is of my older brother coming into my room when it was still dark outside, and waking me up.
“Let’s see what Santa brought us!” he said, as I climbed out of my crib and followed him into the hallway. “Shhhhh!”
Our house was two-story, with a landing halfway up the stairs. We stopped there on the landing, to look out over the living room. All was dark, except for the streetlight shining in the front window. And there, below us under the Christmas tree, something was reflecting the streetlight. Something shining.
We scampered down the stairs as quietly as we could to inspect the marvels that Santa had left. A bicycle!
A tricycle! Oh, the wonder! So, this is what Santa Claus did while we were sleeping! There were wrapped packages under the tree, too, but our attention was focused on the bikes. My brother wouldn’t be able to ride his bike outside until spring, but I could wheel my tricycle around the first floor of the house.
My brother’s curiosity was satisfied, and my newly-awakened curiosity realized it was satisfied, too. We tip-toed back up the stairs – our parents were still asleep – and my brother made sure I safely climbed back into my crib.
It’s a memory. It’s a story I’ve told to our son, so now it’s his story, too. May this Christmas, and all those hereafter, bring wonderful memories to your family.
Share yours. Make stories.
Judi Young Tarowsky holds a BSJ from WVU and a Graduate Certificate in Storytelling from the University of North Texas. She formerly worked as a newspaper reporter in Wheeling and Steubenville, OH. Among other venues, she has performed at Three Rivers Storytelling Festival, the WV State Folk Festival, and many other venues. She was one of the founders of the Grand Vue Storytelling Festival and the Pricketts Fort Storytelling Festival.
Contact Judi at: