Susan Spess Shay

Still playing make believe.


Hole-In-The-Wall Gang

Do you have favorite Christmas memories you revisit every year? I do. And I like to pretend I’m normal, so I think you probably do, too. 🙂

Sometimes the ones that give us the biggest smiles are the ones that were so awful at the time. Such as when we got the new wagon from Santa.

I don’t remember if it was a Spess Kids present or specifically Brother Jeffrey’s gift. (We never paid a lot of attention to that kind of thing–share and share alike is what Mama enforced.) I remember all five of us getting in that wagon so Dad could take a picture.

The wagon wasn’t red like a normal wagon. It was blue or aqua. And we couldn’t play with it in the street, of course, so we were instructed we’d have to keep it on the sidewalks and driveways when cars weren’t parked there. Since Grandmother and Granddad lived next door and we had a connecting sidewalk, that wasn’t such a bad deal.

Anyway, it was a cold Christmas Day and all our aunts, uncles and cousins were at Grandmother’s for Christmas dinner. With a crowd that size Dad had two brothers and one sister, two of which had four kids at that time, and while one had five. With Dad’s five-at-that-time, you get a number close to thirty, which it a little crowded, no matter how big the kitchen and living room is.

So when we asked Mom if it was okay to go next door to our house and play, she let us go. We showed off our loot and played with it for a little while. I went to do something else, and when I came back, Sister Debbie and Joanie were taking turns, pushing each other through the house in the wagon. One pushed, one rode and steered, then they swapped places.

They had a great time because we had a huge living room with a wood floor–an excellent runway for the blue missile. You had to do some quick stepping if you started through the living room at the wrong time!

Whenever Joanie did something, she went at it hard, and pushing the wagon that day was no exception. She pushed it right into the wall.

Of course, it went through the sheet rock and left a hole the size of a grapefruit, which was not a pretty sight. So Sister Debbie and Joanie decided to hide it. They shoved the big, brown chair up against that wall, and rushed back to Grandmother’s to play.

Since I wasn’t part of the hole-in-the-wall-gang, I didn’t feel it was my place to rat them out, but my stomach hurt the rest of the afternoon because of it.

Now we had a sharp pair of parents, who didn’t miss much. When the family left Grandmother’s and Mom and Dad came home, they immediately noticed the chair in the wrong place.

Mom shoved it back where it belonged. I can hear her now. “Oh, my stars! What happened to the wall?”

Sister Debbie didn’t get spanked, if I remember right, but Dad could make you feel awful when he scolded you. “Your mom works so hard, keeping this house nice. Now you’ve made a hole right inside the front door. It looks awful. Do you know–?”

The wagon was moved outside and never came back in again.

So, what Christmas memories do you enjoy? Want to share one or two?

Ps: Deb–feel free to correct any mistake I made in this telling. 🙂