So now we begin the season of seasons. Christmas is often mixed in with Chanukah and Kwanza and a few lesser known celebrations, but predominantly this time of year in the west is known as the Christmas season and more so in recent years as the Holiday season. The holiday season is an accommodation to merchants who want to include everybody in the festive celebrations.
For those of us who celebrate Christ's birth, symbolically or otherwise, it is a joyous time of year. Excitement and reverence permeates the festive and sacred atmosphere. Children take in the energy and send it out exponentially. Their expectations and joy influences all of us. Religions promulgate the sacred and all of us benefit.
It too is a time to look back on childhoods that were much different from today’s children. Times then were simple. Families seemed more important and gatherings special. You never knew which of the older folks would not be there the next year. There were always some who hands were missing at the Christmas table grace. Gifts and cards were not always bought, but made with thought and care.
My Dad was not rich in bank accounts, but he was in craftsmanship. When I was eight years old my main gift at Christmas, besides the proverbial socks and necessities and a knitted sweater from my grandmother, was a table model radio and record player.
It became my nightstand next to my bunk bed. It was bright red with cartoon decals on either side of the six-inch fabric covered speaker in the center of the front panel. On top, a door lifted up. Inside was a record turntable. Underneath the electronics were slotted cubby holes to hold the 78-RPM records I had amassed as a kid.
I had several of the Uncle Don series and Rusty in Orchestraville and some others I can’t remember.
My Dad had spent nights building the cabinet and the radio and the record player. He knew electronics and could do those things with capacitors, resistors and tubes. He put them all together and it worked. I loved it.
I would spend hours after I was supposed to be asleep listening to distant radio stations. I had the volume turned low. I would tune in WWVA in Wheeling, West Virginia, WOWO in Fort Wayne, Indiana and KDKA in Pittsburgh. It was exciting for a nine year old.
I do not wish to go back to those days and times. I do wish some of the ethics and integrity and reverence common at that time had been sustained within our social structure. But then those things are not endemic to the social structure. They are strictly traits of personal character.