A musical gift for a first Christmas together

Christmas has always been a happy time for me and now, without Jim, I have many happy memories to comfort me. I remember one Christmas in particular thinking back to the holidays of the past.

It was 1963 and my first Christmas with Jim as my wife. He was an airman second class at Dover Air Force Base and, of course, we were poor. I think his monthly allowance was something like $125.

Credit cards were still in the future and our rented accommodations were tiny. We managed to get a small tree and some decorations and lights from my mother. I can see myself now, sitting on the couch in the dark, watching the colored lights go on and off as I waited for Jim to come home on Christmas Eve.

The only gifts under the little tree were from our parents, and we agreed that gifts weren’t important between the two of us. We were just happy to be together. But when Jim got home, he was carrying a huge, heavy box wrapped in gift wrap. I couldn’t imagine what it could be, and I knew whatever it was, we had no money for it.

He wanted me to unpack it right away, and I was quite impatient. There would be time for questions later. It turned out to be a portable stereo record player and in another package was an album of our favorite songs by Peter, Paul and Mary.

We played this album until we knew the lyrics to each song and the order in which they would come. Jim’s favorite ‘Old Stewball’ and my favorite ‘Blowin’ in the Wind’ were played over and over that night and for many weeks after. Nothing could have made me happier

Even later, when I found out how the present came to be, my excitement remained high. It looks like Sears and Roebuck have discovered a way for everyone to spend money in their store for Christmas. It was called a revolving charge account.

I won’t say how much this stereo ended up costing. But it was worth every penny.

Connie Biddle Morrison lives in Gainesville.

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