|My father and I - Christmas 1962|
It’s important to me that I write down this memory. My mother and my sister have long since forgotten about it and my brother was yet to be born, and the Rio Hondo Hospital no longer exists. It’s part of my father’s history and a part of our family genealogy and history as well. Certain moments in a persons life should not be forgotten. With that in mind, I would like to share this memory.
We moved into our new home in Pico Rivera in November, 1962, a day before Thanksgiving. Christmas came quickly for us that year, adjusting to a new home, making new friends and getting to know our new neighbors and trying hard to return to a normal pattern. Christmas that year was a blur. It came and went without much ado.
The next year was a busy one for my parents, especially the second half, as they prepared to open a women’s clothing store, “Ann’s Dress Shop” at the old Hickory Hop Center in Pico Rivera. The store opened sometime in late fall or early winter of that year. I can’t quite recall exactly.
In the early part of December, 1963, my father was sick with the flu. I think he was worn out from the last year, between moving into the new house, working at his job and opening the store. His birthday on the 16th came and went, he turned forty that year. Not too many days after that I was awakened by my mother, it was very late at night. She told me that she had taken my father to the hospital and that he was sick with pneumonia. She seemed pretty shaken up.
It was just my Mother, sister Evelyn and me, my brother Dennis would be born the following December.. The house was lonely and quiet without my father. He was really sick and for a time we weren’t 100% sure that he was going to make it. We all prayed privately for my father. We continued to prepare for Christmas to keep busy, my mother did the Christmas shopping and my sister and her wrapped all the gifts and we waited.
A day came when I was able to go to the hospital to see him. It was the Rio Hondo Hospital in Downey. I wasn’t allowed to go to the room with my mother and sister, I think it was my age, I was nine. As I was sitting in the waiting room my mother called out to me and when I looked up, my father was standing at the doorway. I wasn’t allowed to go to him but we did talk for a minute before he went back to his room.
Christmas came and I made a decision that none of us would open our presents until my father came home from the hospital. It wasn’t negotiable. It was just another day of either moping around and waiting or keeping busy and waiting.
It was a few days after Christmas, December 28th, when my mother brought my father home. He was home. I couldn’t run out of the house to greet him fast enough. He was still in his pajamas and robe. I wasn’t used to seeing my father like this but I was just glad to have him home. By the time I reached my father I was in tears. We hugged and I just couldn’t let go of him, neither could my sister. I still remember his exact words “This is the best Christmas present I ever had”. We were all together again. December 28th was Christmas day for us that year. The following December, 1964 ,on the 26th, my brother Dennis would be born and twenty-four years later on the 28th, to the exact day, my youngest daughter Savannah was born.
When it comes to Christmas songs I’m old school. I still like the traditional songs I grew up with. I don’t care much for the newer stuff. It’s a generational thing. Below is a play list of some of the Christmas songs that our family enjoys.