It was my wish to complete transcribing December last month so while the holidays were happening in real life they were also happening in the past, but in the past and present for me. Does that make sense? It’s how I feel when I’m transcribing. It’s the magic of this all being very real and about someone I love so much. I live it a little bit. So, instead of getting a doubly lived Christmas, I get to end and begin a New Year at the same time as I get to end and begin a New Year. 2016-2017 and 1936 -1937.
There are feelings we have been conditioned to feel this time of year. Excitement and celebration. Babu has that in droves this month.
But first, some things which weren’t exactly in the holiday spirit.
Ernie’s grandmother dies. When Ernie returns to school Babu writes:
Saw Jonesy’s coat on the rack this morning so I knew she was in school. She didn’t look a bit like herself because her eyes were swollen and dry and shriveled up. She didn’t bring her lunch so we ate mine. Then we went across to the drug store and bought 20 cents worth of bars and divided them up.
I don’t know how kind the observation about Ernie’s eyes are, but Babu clearly is taking care of her friend the best she can.
then there is this tid bit:
Jamie called for us this morning and incidentally told of a murder committed by a Chicopee man on his wife.
Well, that’s very cheery. Neither was this:
Went to the mission. The good looking missionary talked. He has a beautiful voice and gave an inspired sermon. He described minutely the death of a person. He also told mothers to present their daughter’s boyfriends with the electric bill.
December begins a little creepy! And And did you miss the fact that she called the missionary “good looking?” Tune in tomorrow for more on that!
Things begin to turn around as Babu writes that they will have a better Christmas because her mother has found work again. And then the magic of the season really begins to set in:
Zosh, Mom and I went to church to finish up the mission. The lights in the church were put out and we all lighted our candles.
Then comes the onslaught of family, food, and gifts. Sometimes these, especially the first, come with a cost.
Thursday, December 24th, 1936
Baked all afternoon. Got a lovely satin slip from Johnny Krol and 5 lb box of candy from Jamie. Went down street and bought Johnny K. Some Gemey Perfume. Aunty Helen and the family came and then Alice and Jimmy. Got a tennis racket from A+J and a dance set and handkerchiefs from Aunt Helen. After “Wigilia” they all went to church and left me with the kids. Baby Mary began to cry and I had to try many means to quieting her. Walking up and down was the only remedy. Finally she slept in a chair. Then at night I left mom and dad snored and I slept on the rug in the parlor.
And on Christmas day it became apparent, Babu can’t hang:
Friday, December 25th, 1936
Got a lovely card from Drobey. Zosh gave me a mockery set. Aunt Nelly and the family and John Dudek and his two brothers, Alice, Jimmy, Grandma, the Polchopheks from Holyoke, Jimmy’s father and mother and Mike were all here. Such singing and dancing and playing. You could hear us way out on the street. Mother’s turkey came out beautifully. Got five lbs of candy today and a slip. Couldn’t stand the noise around 9 o’clock so I went next door. We talked with the exception of Johnny and the inclusion of Drobey. He looks nice and so did Andy.
What a lovely day though, am I right?!
And then there is this passage which is possibly the most confusing passage I have ever read ever:
Tuesday, December 29th, 1936
Thanked Jamie for the candy. He said I was welcome and that he asked another boy to send it because he had been in bed. Was almost through with my homework when Zosh came in and asked me to go to the library. I fell for her line. She really wanted us to meet Andy and Drobey because they had it all planned to go out New Year’s Eve. We met them but I didn’t feel in the mood so we swept by. We went to the library. They followed us. Came home. They followed us. Went up the hill. They went home? What happened?
So many strange things there!
And here begins the new year at 5:00 1937! Or is it that the old year ended?
Thursday, December 31st, 1936
What a way to start a New Year and end an old, only in reverse order. Junior and Ernie Francis, Nelson, Harlan Laughton, Robert and Frank came for me but we didn’t get started until after 10 and they took the whole box of chocolates with them. We drove around and lost each other at least three times. First Frank, Nelson, and Franie went to the movies and we went to the Butterfly. Robert left early so only Harlan, and I and Junior and Ernie were left. We had a “slick” time, blowing horns, dancing, etc. Then we went to Ernie’s and ate and they all except Robert came up here. They stayed a few minuets and left at 5 o’clock 1937.