In the spring of 1946, when the girl of my dreams was a skinny, knobby kneed little girl with a head full of dark ringlets, she and her family moved from urban Salt Lake City, to rural Orem, Utah.
Her parents, Al and Isabelle Lupus, purchased a run-down 10 acre farm, that included an old house. It wasn’t much of a house, it was a ramshackle place that needed lots of work.
Al was a carpenter by trade, and immediately set to work to make the place habitable. Before he began, he erected a tent for the family to live in while he gutted the house. So, that summer, the family of five, lived a rather Spartan life. Meals were picnics, and baths were taken in the tent, in an old wash tub.
By the time the leaves began to change color, and as the nights grew colder, the campout lost it’s fun factor. Thankfully, before the first snow fell, Al moved the family into an improvised, (but heated) combination bedroom and living area in the basement. The bathroom was finished, so bathing was more civilized, and the kitchen was completed too. They almost had a home.
When Thanksgiving rolled around, Sharon and her sister LaWana thought about Christmas. “Where in the world will Mom and Dad put the Christmas tree?” they wondered. They knew there wasn’t room in the basement, and the rest of the house was a construction zone. “Not in the living room, that‘s for sure.” They both agreed, for it was blocked off, while Al continued to work on it.
The week before Christmas, their parents made furtive trips into the blockaded living room. Sharon and LaWana, pestered them about a Christmas tree, and wondered: “How will Santa find us? He doesn’t know we live in the basement.”. The girls hadn’t seen any mysterious packages enter the house either, as they had in the years before the move. “Maybe Mom and Dad have forgotten about Christmas.” The worried little girls whispered to one another, as they snuggled in their bed.
Christmas Eve arrived, and still no tree, and apparently no gifts. They went to bed that night, not knowing what to expect the next morning. Both girls had asked for dolls and velvet dresses. Gifts they had hoped they would find under the tree….but, they knew there was no tree. They drifted off to sleep.
Early Christmas morning, Al and Isabelle woke the girls, and Al gathered both of them in his arms, and took them upstairs to the renovated living room. “Surprise!” Both parents exclaimed. There in the middle of the room was the most beautiful Christmas tree the girls had ever seen. “Santa did find us! Santa did find us!”, they squealed, as they danced around the glowing tree. Displayed underneath were those beautiful dolls and the velvet dresses they had dreamt about. “It’s a miracle!” they said, “It‘s a miracle!”.
I hope there’s a miracle in the offing for your family this year.
(This story was published in Reminisce Magazine’s current Christmas Book.)