“Christmas Past”


As I looked around our decorated(thanks to my grandchildren)home this afternoon, I realized how each object had a particular significance for me. I have never gone in much for decorating for its own sake. Instead I am surrounded by furniture, art and china handed down to me from earlier family members. In fact, until I was in high school, my parents never bought any furniture since so much was already available.

My grandfather was one of seven children whose father worked as a law clerk in Chicago. Money was scarce though adequate. The paper decoration above hung in their home one hundred years ago. It cheers me to think of him every Christmas and to remember his family’s frugality. Two favorite recipes came from his family. “Carpenter (his last name) spaghetti was just spaghetti noodles and grated “rat” cheese. No meat. No tomatoes. The other was canned chipped beef in white sauce over toast. Before I left home, my mother insisted that I learn to make white sauce in a double boiler. She felt it was an essential skill. I haven’t made it in many years, but I still have my grandmother’s double boiler and could still mix butter, flour and milk if forced into service.

I will share a couple more possessions over the next couple of days. I hope it encourages you to be grateful once again for the things handed down.

10 thoughts on ““Christmas Past”

  1. I grew up in a family that didn’t have much spare money, Elizabeth. We also ate pasta meals just like the ones you described above. My mom made a lot of cheese sauce and spaghetti when we were kids. As a treat, we sometimes got potato chips (the hot kind you fry in oil) with our meal. We also had no tomato sauce or any vegetables.


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