Last Sunday my twelve-year-old daughter and her grandmother went to see The Nutcracker Suite. I am certain that this holiday adventure will be one of those memories of the Christmas holiday that my daughter will always remember cherish. First she loves her grandmother, second she loves Christmas, and third, she loves the ballet.
The first memory I have of Christmases past was the year that my brother Tom was born. I remember coming down stairs and being surprised by the fact that my mommy was not there, but my Aunt Mary was washing windows. (We had moved from Snider Circle the previous spring, so this was the house where I grew up .) She told us that we now had another baby brother and that when my daddy got off work that he would be taking us somewhere else to stay for a few days.
I remember that my brother Allen stayed at my Aunt Myrna and Uncle Carl’s house. Carol and I stayed at Aunt Mabel’s house. When we arrived at Aunt Mabel’s house, I remember two of my older cousins were there as well. Jane and Ardie, Aunt Pauline’s, (Dad’s sister)daughters, were staying at Aunt Mabel’s , I now assume, to help care for my sister and I. (I was three and a half years old and she was about 14 months old by this time). I remember sensing that Aunt Mabel seemed to favor Ardie over Jane. I remember that Jane left early, I think before Christmas. The details there are a little hazy.
I remember Christmas morning. I remember getting up early in the morning and seeing Aunt Mabel’s shiny aluminum Christmas tree, but it looked different because under the tree were presents and some were for me! I only remember one special present that year. I remember looking in the box and seeing a pretty little doll dressed in a little blue dress (or was it pink?).
I remember that I named the doll Susanna. I remember why I named her Susanna. I remember that I was watching Shirley Temple movies at the time and one of my favorites was Susanna of the Mounties. The doll had curly blonde hair and Shirley Temple had curly blonde hair. It seemed a logical name for my pretty doll.
Since then, I have shared my delight in Shirley Temple movies with my daughter as well. Though I no longer have my Susanna, at this very moment, sitting on our DVD shelf is a copy of Susanna of the Mounties. My mother-in-law may have shared The Nutcracker Suite with her, but I have also been able to share the first Christmas I remember with my daughter through this old, delightful movie.