From February 2015 Tips & Tales - A CHRISTMAS MEMORY

From the Tips and Tales Archives

Here is another article we are highlighting from the Tips and Tales Archives. Galen Moses is moderating this column, and we hope to share a “new” past article on a regular basis. Galen's comments are in italics at the end.  We hope you enjoy a look back to the past!

From February 2015 Tips & Tales --shared by Gail Kiracofe

It's 1947. I'm alone in my dorm room at Indiana University, stretched out on my bunk, mind wandering. Silently a memory slips into my head. I look at it as if on a movie screen then sit bolt upright and explode laughing.

My roommate bursts in the door. "What? What? What's so funny?"

"I 'got' it. I just 'got' what my Dad said years ago when I was just a little girl." Here's the story.

It was the 'teeth of the Depression' as my Mother always called it. Christmas presents were few and mostly included clothing essentials like new socks or underwear or flannel pajamas. Tucked under the tree this particular year was a box 12 or 14 inches square by 3 or 4 inches deep marked "To Daddy, from Mommy". It was sort of heavy and made a nice clunking noise when shaken. Even Daddy was puzzled, more interested than usual in the Christmas tradition at our house of pinching, shaking, and sniffing each wrapped gift under the tree.

On Christmas morning we all begged Daddy to open his gift first, as it was a most intriguing mystery to all of us but our smiling Mother. So he did. And inside? A brand new … smooth … gleaming …white … toilet seat! We all knew that our old seat had a crack that pinched if you sat on it the wrong way, so it was a welcome if slightly bizarre 'gift'. The folks laughed heartily and we kids turned to tearing into our own treasures.

That evening we all piled into the car, along with Aunt Edith who was visiting, and drove around town to see the Christmas lights and decorations. In the front seat, Aunt Edith and Mother were kidding Daddy about his present when he made his comment that caused great hilarity in the car then and which I didn't 'get' until years later. His remark?

"Yes, siree, that's going to be a real asset."

This story is true and I think illustrates beautifully the capriciousness of memory. These days, when I stand in the middle of a room and wonder what I'm doing there, or try to recall what if anything I had for lunch, it's comforting to know that sometime, unbidden and out of the blue, a memory like a gift under the Christmas tree may materialize to entertain and delight me. And, like my Dad said, that's bound to be a real asset.

Gail laughs as she remembers writing the story some six years ago, one of several articles she wrote for the print version of Tips & Tales. Let’s hope we can all recall such assets in stressful times.