At this time 50 years ago, give or take a week or so, those who had gone off to college or perhaps enlisted in the armed forces or took a job far from home were coming home for Christmas for the first time.
It was a chance to catch up with classmates and friends, renew a girlfriend/boyfriend relationship, share some experiences with family, or just collect your thoughts. Most likely it included a Christmas gathering with extended family, aunts, uncles, and cousins. It was the only world we knew, and perhaps naively thought it would never change.
But it did.
As our parents are disappearing we are becoming the family host for our own offspring, and the caretaker for those parents remaining. The change is drastic but has hardly been noticed as it occurs over a 50-year span. Lonna lost both of her parents by 1981, sadly more noticeable to her at that age than for most of us who have the element of time to ameliorate the transition.
Even today, the loss of a parent with whom you spend much time can leave a hole in your world, may make you feel aimless for a period as you re-orient your life. The impact may in fact be greater today because you have been the caretaker and clearly are an adult.
The flashback to 1962 was very real this week when the grandson returned home from college and attended my favorite granddaughter's Christmas concert. I saw myself returning home, full of knowledge now and so worldly, I thought. I didn't have a chance to see any performances of my younger siblings back then, and am sure I didn't see any at NKHS either because I would have remembered being in that new building.
I have only one clear memory of that long-ago vacation, and that was a card party, held New Year's eve as best I recall. It's a recollection that only occurs with some silent reflection and perhaps an outside prompt somewhere along the line. Just another example of something happening today that rings the inner bell of memories, many to be treasured, some not.
(My favorite granddaughter, by the way, is also my ONLY granddaughter.)