Monday, July 25, 2011

Christmas, 1972

Over the summer, I've been working on cleaning out and organizing the drawers and closets in my condo. I've only lived in this place for 8 years, but anyone looking at the closets and drawers would think it had been at least 25. I've actually enjoyed the project, as I've come upon things I had totally forgotten about, and I also smile every time I open a closet and see how organized it is.

One of the things I found that made me smile was this picture from 1972. My sister and I dressed in our matching outfit best, and went to see Santa. I was 4 here, and my sister was 8. She was a bit old to be doing this, but I know she did it because I didn't want to go by myself.

This picture brings back great memories for me, as I loved everything about Christmas when I was a kid.

We went to see Santa at a great old department store called Shillito's. To me, visiting the downtown store was almost like going to an amusement park, especially at Christmas time. Shillito's had amazing Christmas window displays, and I loved them. I would stand in front of them and stare, completely mesmerized, like Ralphie and his friends in A Christmas Story. (One of my all-time favorite movies, by the way. My family and I never tire of quoting it.)

Shillito's also had the best Santa displays. It wasn't just about seeing Santa, as you had to walk through an enchanting Christmas display that snaked around one whole floor of the store just to get to him. One year it was the North Pole, another it was Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. I can still remember the smell of the chocolate as my mom and I walked through the display on our way to see Santa Claus.

With the massive heatwave gripping so much of the country, I really enjoyed taking a trip back in time to this winter tradition.

It was also fun to see a picture of my 4 year old self. I couldn't help but think, if I could go back and talk to this little girl, what would I tell her, knowing what I do now?

The first thing that came to mind was that I would tell her to go easy on the student loans when she gets to college! I kid, but there's no question I've made some unwise financial decisions in my life. But of course, hindsight is 20/20.

I think mostly I would tell this little girl not to be so afraid to try things as she gets older. And not to worry so much about what other people think.

But at the same time, I think, I wouldn't tell her anything. Whatever choices I made or whatever fears I had, they are all part of the person I am today. And accepting myself, warts and all, is something I've finally learned to do.

What about you? If you could talk to your childhood self, what would you say? And if you are dealing with the heat where you live, I hope this little trip to Christmas past gave you some relief, if only in your mind.


  1. Oh, Julie. This photo got me all choked up. It reminds me of photos with my own sisters around Christmas and holidays. Thanks so much for sharing it.

    If I could go back and talk to my childhood self, I'd tell her to play more kick-the-can. :-)

  2. I love you and your sister's matching outfits! This is such a great photo, the kind you can just stare at forever. Ok, I am ready for Christmas!

  3. I still love Christmas!! Cute pic! And for the heat try some frozen grapes....they are awesome!!

  4. @Liz, that sounds like great advice to your little self! I'm so glad you liked the photo.

    @Karen, thanks! Yeah, the outfits make me laugh.

    @Bonnie, oh, I love grapes so that is a great idea. Thanks for the suggestion!

    @Karen, thanks so much, and that is perfect advice.

  5. Quirky and funny blog, thanks for the posts:)

  6. I'm like you. I've made some mistakes, but they are part of what brought me to where I am now, and it isn't such a bad place.

    Such a cute picture.

  7. @Mark, thank you! It's great to meet you. :)

    @LG, thanks! It's taken me a while to get this way, I've always been much harsher on myself than I am with anyone else.

  8. If I was to tell myself anything it would be to make the most of everyday because when you get older you realise just how fast time is slipping by. When you're young you feel that you have forever to do things but the truth is you don't.

  9. No such luck with the heat over in London I'm afraid! Although it was 24 degrees so not bad. What picture would I take from my childhood? Probably the picture of me standing atop my father's car. One of my favs!

  10. Such a great photo! I think I'd leave my little girl self alone and let her learn all on her own.

  11. Oh, you're so cute.

    I wish I had gone to grad school for something different than I did, but I made that decision as an adult.

    The other stuff -- I went after what I wanted. Sometimes I didn't get it, but I tried and I have stories and memories. That was what I wanted, to look back and not regret that I didn't try.

  12. Precious photo!
    I would tell my little girl self not to worry about being a nerd. I've learned to embrace that as I've gotten older. And not to procrastinate. That seems to get worse the older I get!

  13. My childhood self would think my adult self didn't know anything. :)

  14. what a fun post!
    Look at how adorable you were! (and still are!)

    A Christmas Story is one of my all time faves as well. I am from Cleveland where the vast majority of it was filmed. Love that movie!

    My childhood self would tell my adult self that they are pretty darned happy that basically much of my childhood (and CHILDISH) personality is exactly the same as when I was five. I always had a pretty darned strong sense of self...(when I listened to my gut!)

  15. What a memory. I remember Shillito's too, isn't it Macy's now? Great photo and thanks for the cooling idea of winter. :)
    Jules @ Trying To Get Over The Rainbow

  16. What a fun discovery! Your sister sounds like a good big sister. As you started describing the store, I instantly thought of A Christmas Story! I can't recall having a place so neat that I have fond memories of window shopping there, but I love the setting you created with that story.

    As far as what I'd tell my younger self, it would be hard not to give plenty of warnings, BUT I agree that my experiences, good and bad, are what made me the person I am now.

  17. What an adorable picture of you and your sister! I recently found a picture when I was around 4 years old taken on my grandmother's couch with my older brother. He was immaculately groomed, while I was sitting sprawled out in my mini skirt. So I guess I would tell my young self to be sure to cross her legs. Julie

  18. Lovely photo. As far as heat is concerned we could do with mixing things up a bit. The UK is far to chilly for this time of year.

    What I would tell my childhood self... hmmm, I agree with you when you say that it would be best not to tell her anything but for me the best advice would have been (and probably still is!) to stop worrying about things and live your life.

  19. I love the picture and how you want to talk to your younger self. Take your advise, reach for the stars!

  20. @Rob, that is so true, and good advice.

    @DU, it's so strange that the weather seems to be weird everywhere. That sounds like a fabulous picture!

    @Carol, thanks! I think you have the right idea, too.

    @Mary, thank you! I think that is what is most important, knowing that you tried.

    @Laura, thanks so much! LOL, I can so relate to the procrastination. I'm still telling myself that, and I don't listen. :D

    @Ciara, LOL, good point! :)

    @Caren, thanks! Oh, I love the Christmas Story scenes in downtown Cleveland, so fun. I can watch that movie every Christmas without getting tired of it. :)

    @Jules, yeah, it is Macy's. I think it's kind of a shame that all the regional stores are gone now and it's just a national chain.

    @Shannon, it was fun to find, thanks! I so love that opening to the Christmas Story, I loved the windows so much.

    @Julie, LOL! It's funny, sometimes I can still hear my mom telling me to sit like a lady when I'm wearing a skirt. :D

    @Rosalind, I wish we could trade some heat and cold and both get a happy medium! Yeah, I think that is the advice I need to give myself now too. :)

    @LynnMarie, thanks so much! And, great advice! :)

  21. This is a very sweet post and a darling picture. I think I'd be reluctant to tell that little girl anything (life has tossed so much her way), except that I'll take care of her through it all.
    Be well.

  22. Robyn, thanks so much, that's a very sweet thought.

  23. What a great treasure to find! This is such a sweet post. If your four year old self could say something to you, I'm sure she would say something like this: WOW. I get to be you when I grow up? :)

  24. awwwww. how precious is that photo?!

  25. What a cute picture! You and your sister were beautiful little girls. ;)

    The heat--ack! The other day I was driving and daydreaming about walking through slushy snow. I've never done that before: dream about winter. I grew up in a tropical country so you'd think I'd love the heat. I always complain about the snow and how winters seem to last forever. And now, it is summer and I'm dreaming of winter? I can only say, I blame the heat for muddling my brain. ;)

  26. I love finding treasures in drawers, and it looks like you found one.


  27. A Christmas Story--classic. We quote that one a lot too.

    I loved this post, and your advice for yourself is such good, sound advice. For me, I'd probably tell myself to pay more attention to my big dreams. That some of them, although extravagant, are worth trying to achieve anyway. I think I always had a tendency to drop things that seemed too unobtainable.

  28. What a fantastic photograph! I'm not sure what I would tell my younger self. Maybe, go for your dreams as you dream them, rather than waiting until you are of an age where you have a stronger belief in yourself. I'd tell her she can do anything she sets her mind to. Pretty much what I'm telling my children to be honest. But like you, I would probably leave the younger me to travel the path she needed to, to get me to the place I am today.

  29. What would I say to my childhood self? Well this is a timely question as I have been doing a small march through my past using old pictures.

    I don't know why, but your question is a hard one for me. Maybe I feel like I had no control in my childhood - so any advice I would give me would be useless.

    Maybe be kinder to my dad who was struggling with his own demons ... I was not very mature about how I dealt with that.

  30. @Samantha, oh, that's such a sweet thing to say, thanks!

    @Amanda, thank you!

    @cherie, thanks so much. I totally hear you on the winter dreams, I fuss like crazy in the winter, but recently I've been thinking the snow really isn't so bad LOL.

    @Joyce, I love it too, thanks!

    @Kendal, I've always had the same tendency, I can totally relate to that.

    @Rebecca, thanks! I think what you are telling your children is great, I hope they take it to heart.

    @Retired Knitter, you have found some really wonderful pictures from what I've seen. I know what you mean about being kinder to people, I think I have more awareness now about other people's issues than I did as a child. But I guess that is all part of growing up.

  31. Aw, what a gorgeous picture and a great memory!


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