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Wednesday, December 14, 2011

The Ghosts of Christmas Past

Christmas is a time of great joy -- families together, sharing memories as well as gifts and good food. Christmas is also a time to remember our loved ones who are no longer with us. I believe our loved ones never truly die as long as they are in our memories. We remember them especially during the holidays and wish they were here to celebrate Christmas with us once again.

Sometimes wishes come true.....

The following Christmas story was written by Frances Boren Haymond Nugent. She was the daughter of Lee Boren and Laura Belle Steward Boren of Fairland. When Frances was a small child (age 4), she was orphaned when her parents passed away at very young ages. Frances was raised by her grandparents, Margaret and William “Fred” Steward of Fairland. After Margaret died, Frances’ other grandparents, the Borens, helped raise her, too.

This story was generously shared by Frances’ daughter, Carolyn Haymond Bowden. She wrote that she thought her mother would like having her story published on this blog. She said her mother would be amazed by our way of communicating through blogs and emails. Thank you, Carolyn, for sharing this. It’s a wonderful Christmas gift.

(By Frances Boren Haymond who was aged 7 in 1914)

There was the Christmas at the little gray house across the street from the Methodist Church in Fairland. The year was 1914. Grandpa Steward and Hazel had moved from the brick house when Grandma Steward died in July 1913, and my mother Laura Belle Boren (had died) in April 1910. Hazel (Steward) was a senior in high school, I was in the 2nd grade.

Santa Claus left us many nice gifts. Brown leather leggings and a fur muff and neck piece for me and for Hazel a tiger skin hat and scarf, what else I don’t remember. I think we had candy, but not much, I’m sure.

Grandpa, Hazel and I were eating our Christmas dinner when the church bell started ringing fast and loud, very different from the slow Sunday morning ding-dong. We ran outside and saw that the house at the far end of our street was on fire. We ran down the street, Uncle Jim Steward’s house was down that way.

Men with buckets of water were trying to save the house, drawn to the bright flames that flashed out from one of the windows. It was not Uncle Jim’s house, but it was near and Uncle Jim and Aunt Eddie and cousins Ofa, Sumner, Fern, and Ivy (Steward) must have been visiting elsewhere for I don’t remember any of them staying with us as the house burned. (Note, “But Ivy says she remembers being there.”)

It was the first burning house I’d ever seen. Uncle Jim moved into the new house that was built later.

The rest of the day, even the walk back to our deserted Christmas dinner with Grandpa and Hazel has faded from my memory. I suppose I said a prayer before I slept. I always did. I was programmed to do so.

A wish fulfilled…..a glimpse into Christmas past with my Steward family. What a wonderful gift!

I would like to wish all of you -- my family and friends, and all who read my stories, a memorable and blessed Christmas. Remember to share your memories and keep the stories alive. They will be cherished by someone just like me……