Only Kids – Anyway!

When,  you are a little girl in an  Orphanage, you learn new ways to celebrate Christmas! Even though  I went to a Catholic School before  German St.Vincent Orphan Home,  the  Nuns, were of different religious orders, and some of the  Nuns at St.Vincent, came from Germany.

Before Christmas,  there are the four  (4) weeks of Advent. You were encouraged to perform some type  of mortification – repentance, so that when Christmas  arrived, you were more in the  Spirit of Receiving  the Christ Child, into the world. You were to become a more  meek and mild person!

Since I was just eight  years old, and had to learn all these new ways and rules (and you may as well hear it from me  –  some of the  Nuns, were very mean and excessive  and abusive, to some of the children).

As the first and oldest child in my family,  I did learn to listen, watch what was going on, learn a lesson or two! So that is what I did, paid attention to what the older girls did when receiving candy, like the  stocking from Famous Barr store,  and on Visiting Day, or if one of the  Nuns gave out treats for work done  –  accumulated “quite a stash!”

Now  that I am so much older and wiser  – if you are going to give up something for  Advent or Lent  –  you do not accept  just to enjoy, later!  What was your big sacrifice?   Do little kids understand all that?

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Learning to Make Something pg.2

Continuing  –  When I was eight years old  and learning to do  Needlework  –  learning that the more you do it  –   the better you become with the project!  Also,  was learning , “Haste makes Waste.”  You need to take your time and be careful so that the small stitches produce the look and design intended for the project.  Large sloppy  stitches and carelessness won’t pass muster,    with the Nuns!

One visiting Sunday, I had told my Mother, that I was learning to do  “Cross-stitch” and she thought that was  “Terrific!” Some time later Mom brought  me some threads of various colors, and a small linen hand towel, requiring  someone to select the right colors of thread and do the design .

Well, that’s what I did, but I was in a hurry, and when I had completed it   –  I did not like the finished towel.  I could see first hand sloppy work  –  looks bad no matter how you look at it. All I could do was to now be very careful to undo everything, I had just done?

It  was close to  “Christmas”  –  and I made up my mind  –  this is going to be done right –  there’s no other way! This needs  to be done  and  done perfectly,  because I will be making this  “Towel as a gift for my Mother!”

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Learning to Make Something

On Mondays, from 1:00 to 2:00pm, instead of going back to classes at school, we assembled at the tables in the playroom  This was for Girls only! Each girl had an assigned seat,  and each Monday, you were sitting ready to receive  your  bundle of  “Handiwork”  to  work on. Each girl  was taught by the  Nun in charge, Sister M. Colombo. You would learn to do embroidery work, and also to crochet, and she would find out what was best for you to do!

Since, I had not done any of this fancy stitching, had to start with a plain white cloth with  a lot of xxx’s on it, and told how  to pull the threaded needle up and down across the area . Then told to turn the hoop and start where I had left off and make an “X” a complete  “Cross-stitch.”

Now that I think about it – I did make quite a few squares of material with  Cross-stitch. Whatever the design, I did not really take notice, ( I was only eight years old) but I’m sure , with enough squares completed, if they are joined together, you could easily have a small quilt?

My eyes  were surveying  what the  older Girls were making, and how fast their fingers and hands were going – like they had a mind of their own!

I, need   to continue  this by answering  –  Why?  For What?  and More! 

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1st Sunday of Advent

Everyday going by,  is a day closer to “Dec. 25th”  and this is how I remember the days going by in the  1940’s!

The  first ” Advent ” Sunday in   December  –  we  “Orphans” would  put on our   Sunday best clothes, and  board the waiting  Greyhound Buses  –  4 of them. These buses really looked good sitting in the driveway at  German St. Vincent Orphan Home!  Some of the  “Nuns”  also going  and dressed in  their  “Winter Cape”  and I as a small little girl   –  thought they looked  “beautiful”  –  the million dollar look!We sang songs most of the way, until we reached downtown.

Famous Barr, was the destination, and their employees and  Christmas Elves were directing us into the store and up the “escalators”  When we reached the  9th floor, we were walking pretty fast  and directed to seats in the auditorium. There were other children  associated with other institutions, and all of us were having a great time! On the Stage , were live “Actors and Acts,  some Three Stooge Movies, and “Santa” with singing!

Instructions were announced to follow the  Elves to Toy land, there each child was given a wrapped gift. Still following directions to the escalators and going down, near the end of our being in the store, each child received a stocking full of candy!

Back on the Bus, we were singing, and everyone was letting the world know what a wonderful  day it was to be an Orphan.    Some   Orphans had no family   and no visits,   and an occasion  like this  –  was a real blessing!

For making me  feel good  — Thank You God Almighty  — and bless the Benefactors you sent to Orphans  —  to make our day!

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Give A Thought?

Today is the 25th.   So…   little ones, start to settle down and pay attention to what will be coming up and  soon?   If you do  what  “children ” are always told to do  – – –   You are to be seen  –  Not to be heard from?”     You   could learn something   and also…  be way ahead   of your brothers and sisters…   surprises are right around the corner?

Not all families  celebrate  “Christmas” the same? Some families know  that   on the 25th of December…  we do  prepare for the  “Baby Jesus”  to be born!

Usually… when a new baby will be coming, to  a    “Family”  –   everyone  related and  friends  –  bring…    to the        “New Baby”  a  “Gift”  –  just to show   that you want  to   “Welcome   and  get  to know  this new addition to the  FAMILY the …   New Child!”

We have a gift for everybody and anybody, those we can not send a gift to, we send money, so that no one is forgotten? And, everything we sent is really something they already have and do not want or need .  Does anyone think about  the “Celebration and the Reason?”  “THE real WHY of this OCCASION?”

So, children – step up and ask your family  for what you want most!  ” Share more time together  “Love” every minute  being  “Together!”   – – And Always to be together… forever!”

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Now or Never?

This is definitely  the time to  “pull out all stops”  –  It is the appointed time to  use all that   “Good Stuff”  –   you have been  saving for just   the “Right Occasion.”

As a small child, I would love when my mother would open up her ceder Lane chest. The first delicious memory  was the wonderful smell of ceder. Next, she would  very carefully  take items  out and we  would look at each and match the set together and find similar items to be used for this or whatever occasion we were preparing for?

Mom would  comment om some items,  as  – “this was her Mother’s –  and someday all  these linens will be  yours!” It was easy for me to  dream of the way I would  place and arrange, all of Mom’s gifts to me!  There were beautiful  items made with hundreds o f French-knots, embroidery items with silky threads, crochet doilies, table center pieces, crochet arm rest covers – crochet items to throw over the sofa, and lots of other materials and useful hand-made items.

With all  “Works of Art”  –  now is the time –  to use –   for which they were made!   When on  display  –   you can give your guests   the  “Grand Tour”    –      bragging on all the   “Ancestors”   who made and handed   down to you  –    and,   who  will be  the next  “Generation  to reap the  rewards!”

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