Wednesday, 22 December 2010

My best and worst Christmas presents EVER!

A few months ago when we were clearing my parents' house it was - to put it mildly -  a difficult time, but amidst all the sadness, I came across something that made me smile. And not just a little smile either but a huge beaming one. The last room to be emptied was my brother's bedroom where there was a big walk-in cupboard that had always been used to store stuff. We probably left it till last because we dreaded having to get all of that stuff out most of which hadn't seen the light of day in donkey's years.  My brother went in and began bringing boxes and bags of memories out of the cupboard. and laying them out onto the empty bedroom floor for us to sort through and that's went I spotted them. Lying amongst old books, boxes of Christmas decorations and assorted pairs of mis-matched shoes was a pair of roller skates. Not just any roller skates, but the first ones I had ever owned.

Look at those beauties!
These were my Christmas present was I was 7 and I loved them! I would wear them every day, or at least it seemed like that, mostly after school when I would put them on and race outside to skate up and down the smooth tarmacked pavements.  We lived on a long road with a slight incline, so if I skated up the pavement for a while and then grabbed a lamp-post I could swing myself round and start rolling down the pavement again.  I don't think I ever tired of doing it, and, if I tied a tablecloth around my shoulders I was suddenly transformed into Supergirl skating to the rescue of someone in peril.   So many happy memories are wrapped up in those skates and I couldn't wait to show them to my girls, who were slightly bemused by my enthusing about them. 

They were my best ever present and in fact have never been surpassed. So, all those years later, when I saw the skates in the middle of that bedroom it was as nothing short of magical, and was as though Mum and Dad were giving me that present all over again.  I wish I could thank them for those happy memories.

My worst ever Christmas present?  Well, I feel a bit guilty about saying it's my worst present but it's certainly my most unusual and unexpected one. In 1982, when I was 21,  Pope John Paul II visited the UK.  Little did I know that that date would be imprinted on my mind forever by this present:
 
Go on admit it, you're jealous aren't you?
This was a gift from a very dear family friend. She was my Mum's best friend and I have never figured out why she gave me this present. Yes, I was and still am a Catholic, but you couldn't exactly call me devout by any means.  The fact that I've kept it all these years might surprise you too, but occasionally when I mentioned to people about the scarf they didn't believe me until I could show them the evidence.

I went to visit the lovely lady who gave it to me the other day and was reminded once again of the scarf.  I left her house with a Christmas gift from her which is now under the tree and I wonder if - after this year's Papal visit - I might get another one this year. I'll keep you posted.

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Thanks to Linda Jones for prompting me to write this after reading her blog post on Ready for Ten.