Holiday Memories

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Holiday Memories

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    Rana Goodman

    As the holidays approach my mind often drifts back to my youth and some of the holiday traditions I enjoyed so much back then.

    My mother was a court dressmaker ( a seamstress who designed and made clothing for ladies of the court) before venturing into the retail world. As such the basement level of the town house we lived in was devoted to her work. There were large cutting tables, bolts, and bolts of fabric and lots of room to spare.

    I was about six or seven when my father came up with a very unconventional idea to share our holiday with children that had no family. The three of us, mother, father, and myself climbed into the car and headed at short trip into the countryside, stopping at a large brick building I had never seen before.

    That building with lovely grounds turned out to be an orphanage and the three of us were quickly ushered into the office of the lady in charge. My father explained his idea of wanting to take twelve children of assorted ages to our home for the Christmas holidays.

    The lady, as I recall, was all for the idea and said that no one had ever done something like that before. The children would be assorted ages starting at five and would be driven to our home in London since our car, tiny as most British cars were would only seat 4 people.

    The week that followed our home was bustling with my mother cooking cakes and pies and all the wonderful holiday dishes she made so well. They had mattresses brought down to the workshop and in no time at all transformed it into a large dormitory for all we children.

    Once the children arrived, we spent the two weeks we had them going to all the fun places around London and even took a train down to South End, a lovely beach city.  We would all walk together two by two with my dad striding alongside, swagger stick under his arm.

    We certainly drew lots of stares from people passing by, were we a large family or what?  By the time the end of the holiday’s came and the bus from the orphanage came to retrieve the children there were tears, hugs, and promises to see them all again soon.

    That became a tradition for several years, and I have never forgotten the smiles, and joy on those children’s faces. My parents taught me the value of sharing and giving back to those less fortunate.  I remember and think about those days so often and have wished so many times that my children could have seen that side of my parents.

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