Today, I’m sharing a post from my archives that I wrote back in 2017 at a time when I thought I was enduring one of my worst holiday seasons. I was without Internet for six days. Christmas was on a Monday that year. The previous Wednesday, I woke to discover I had no connection.
When I called my provider, I was told they would send someone Friday. On Friday, no one came. Late that afternoon, I called again and was told no one could come till the following Tuesday, the day after Christmas.
At the time, I was devastated. Although I went with a friend to a tuba concert Saturday and ate Christmas dinner at the senior center Monday, for the rest of that weekend, I had no contact with the outside world, except by phone, and no way to get to a location where I could use WIFI.
What I didn’t realize then was how fortunate I was. Unlike many others, I was healthy and still had a roof over my head with electricity, heat, and plenty of food. It’s interesting how we depend so much on the Internet that when we lose it temporarily, our world turns upside down.
The first thing I did after being reconnected Tuesday was to post the following, which I wrote during that period. This and working on my novel, The Red Dress, sustained me.
By the way, The Red Dress and two of my other books are available from Smashwords free for the rest of the month. If you haven’t already done so, after you’ve enjoyed today’s stroll through Memory Lane, please see below for details.
My Favorite Family Holiday Vacation
by Abbie Johnson Taylor
In 1970 when I was nine, and my younger brother Andy was two, we were living in Tucson, Arizona. At Christmas that year, it was decided that Mother, Andy, and I would spend the holiday in Denver with Mother’s relatives while Dad visited his family in Sheridan, Wyoming. I assume this is because my parents couldn’t agree on one place to spend Christmas. Looking back, I can’t imagine why we couldn’t have seen both sets of relations, since Sheridan is only about an eight-hour drive from Denver, compared to the mileage between Denver and Tucson.
This was my first Christmas away from home, and I was worried about Santa finding us, but Mother assured me that he would come to Denver. I don’t remember how Dad got to and from Sheridan, but Mother, Andy, and I flew to and from Denver. Grammy and Granddad, as we affectionately called my mother’s parents, had recently moved into a new house they’d built on a hillside. It was a split-level home, and I found it fascinating.
From the garage, a set of stairs led to a door which opened onto a hallway. On the left was a bathroom and on the right was Granddad’s study. Straight ahead was a large family room containing a couch, several chairs, a TV, and a piano. A sliding door led to a patio beyond.
To the left, another set of stairs led to an expansive living and dining area and kitchen. More stairs led to yet another level containing three bedrooms and a bathroom. The master bedroom, where Grandad slept, had its own bathroom. The room where we slept had a set of double decker beds plus a crib for Andy. Mother and I utilized the bunks with me on the bottom and her on the top. After living in single-level homes in Tucson for years, despite my limited vision, I loved this house with all its stairs.
My mother’s brother Jack, his wife Sharon, and their children, Kelly and Bill, also lived in Denver. Kelly was my age, and Bill was Andy’s, so we always enjoyed playing together. We spent Christmas Eve at their house, then returned to Grammy and Granddad’s house and went to bed. In the middle of the night, I woke up and realized we’d forgotten to hang our stockings. Where would Santa put our gifts? I roused Mother by banging on the top bunk above me, and she sleepily assured me that Grammy and Granddad had taken care of that. I eventually went back to sleep.
Sure enough, in the morning, it was apparent that Santa had indeed found us, as evidenced by the full stockings in the family room. There was no fireplace, no chimney. So, how Santa got in will always be a mystery. My most memorable gifts that year were a set of large print multiplication flash cards and an alarm clock with “Wake up, Abbie” printed on the front. Andy got an inflatable dummy you could use as a punching bag. I think it was called Socko.
Mother had other relatives in Denver, mostly uncles and aunts, who came for Christmas dinner, along with Uncle Jack and his family. Kelly showed me a similar alarm clock she’d received with “Wake up, Kelly” printed on its front.
After about a week in Denver, we returned to Tucson where we found more presents from Santa waiting: a bicycle for me and a little red wagon for Andy. A few days later, Dad returned from Sheridan and brought me an eight—track player. I’m pretty sure he brought something for Andy but don’t remember what that was.
We visited Grammy and Granddad’s house many times over the years as children and adults. After my grandparents passed, Uncle Jack lived there until his death. Now, someone else is lucky to have this wonderful home.
Photo Courtesy of Tess Anderson Photography
Photo Resize and Description by
Two Pentacles Publishing.
I’m pleased to announce that from now until January 1st, Why Grandma Doesn’t Know Me, The Red Dress, and My Ideal Partner are ABSOLUTELY FREE from Smashwords as part of its 6th annual end-of-year sale. Please visit my Smashwords author page to learn more.
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Copyright 2021 by Abbie Johnson Taylor.
Independently published with the help of DLD Books.
Photo Resize and Description by
Two Pentacles Publishing.
Sixteen-year-old Natalie’s grandmother, suffering from dementia and confined to a wheelchair, lives in a nursing home and rarely recognizes Natalie. But one Halloween night, she tells her a shocking secret that only she and Natalie’s mother know. Natalie is the product of a one-night stand between her mother, who is a college English teacher, and another professor.
After some research, Natalie learns that people with dementia often have vivid memories of past events. Still not wanting to believe what her grandmother has told her, she finds her biological father online. The resemblance between them is undeniable. Not knowing what else to do, she shows his photo and website to her parents.
Natalie realizes she has some growing up to do. Scared and confused, she reaches out to her biological father, and they start corresponding.
Her younger sister, Sarah, senses their parents’ marital difficulties. At Thanksgiving, when she has an opportunity to see Santa Claus, she asks him to bring them together again. Can the jolly old elf grant her request?