Thanksgiving 2017 has now come and gone so I can start reminiscing about Christmases Past and delving into my photo stash. I love looking at old pictures, but it is a bit sad, too, because my family is small and, with the exception of my aunt and uncle, my elders are all gone.
In December 1956, my parents and I made the car trip from New Jersey to Needham Heights, Massachusetts to spend Christmas with my maternal grandparents. I don’t really have any memories of that year, as I was only 4, but I think we probably went up there so my parents could tell Grandfather and Grandmother that another grandbaby was on the way in early summer.
I’m also pretty sure that my Aunt Barbara took these pictures. She always had a camera at the ready. Today, I’m thankful that she did because many of the photos that I treasure today are ones that she took.
Grandmother & Grandfather’s House in Needham Heights
I loved my grandparents’ house. It was a New England saltbox. Grandmother was very musical and artistic and I always thought her house was very elegant. Not only did it have two stories, it even had a finished basement with a door to a hidden storage area. I am sure Grandfather put up the wood paneling down there – and there were treasures to be found behind those doors!
Their fireplace mantle always looked so pretty and it never looked the same any two years in a row.
The dining room was just to the right of this fireplace.
Grandmother’s Dining Room, Site of Christmas Dinner
I don’t have any pictures of the set table, but I am the proud owner today of Grandmother’s china, which belonged to my great grandmother’s sister and came down through the family, and of her silverware.
There wasn’t a lot of room upstairs for the Christmas tree, at least not when I was little, so it was set up in the basement.
Linda and the Vintage Baby Carriage, Christmas 1954
Remember I mentioned treasures to be found behind that wood paneling? This baby carriage was the most fun! If there wasn’t still a doll in it, there was one after Santa came. This carriage was vintage even when I played with it. It had black siding, maybe cracked leather if I remember correctly, and it was one of my aunt’s toys. I don’t think I ever asked, but it might even have been a toy of my mom’s as she was older than my aunt.
Front Door and Grandfather’s Desk
Back upstairs, here is the front door. I do remember being quite fascinated by all the Christmas cards hanging (on string, I think) on the wall over the desk. My mother did something similar at our house, but, for whatever reason, it didn’t have the same effect as this display. Maybe some of the cards here were more appealing to a little girl, I don’t know.
That car trip was always long before the expanded highways and toll roads were built, but I think this was probably a great family Christmas.
As Christmas draws closer, I will share a few more vintage Christmas items and memories.