Thursday, December 23, 2010

Christmas with No Strings Attached (Marty’s Post)

As long as I can remember I have always loved Christmas.

I have many vivid memories of happy times as a child - in the days before my parents became Jehovah’s Witnesses and stopped celebrating Christmas, birthdays, and well.....just about everything that was joyful.....fortunately that didn’t happen until I was a teenager, so I didn’t miss out on the joy of waking up early after the midnight visit from Father Christmas and find a pillowcase (an English tradition) full of toys and surprises!

One of my favorite annual childhood gifts from Father Christmas (Santa), was a Pelham String Puppet. I had quite a collection. I’m not sure why I was so fascinated with puppets; I had a vivid imagination and for me, the puppets became very real playmates and friends.

The Pelham company published a catalogue, and like Ralphie in “The Christmas Story” - I would memorize the illustrations and descriptions and make a list of the ones I wanted.

One of my most vivid memories of Christmas was when I was still very young - perhaps 7 or 8, and being so excited about Christmas that I was unable to sleep. My parents must have been frantic...but somehow they managed to sneak Father Christmas into the house so he could deliver his gifts!!!

That year I received one of my all-time favorite puppets....SANDY MACBOOZLE!!!

Sandy MacBoozle 

Why I loved an ugly, boozing Scottish puppet I will never be able to explain - but I made Sandy come to life - I could make him dance and drink from his bottle at the same time. I can remember walking him around the house with me - dancing and drinking!!!

I had other puppets that I’d collected:

The Witch (I believe she was the witch from Hansel and Gretel)

The Policeman

I seem to remember that he arrested Sandy MacBoozle many times!!!

And of course, no puppet collection would be complete without the supreme puppet of all puppets:


Pelham Puppets were all hand-made and hand painted, and were “creepy” enough to inspire my imagination - a gift that I will always appreciate.

As a kid, I kept all my puppets neatly stored in the boxes - taking great pains to carefully wrap their strings around the “cross” so that do not become tangled - a tangled puppet was a disaster, a “dead” puppet!!

In many ways, my parents’ abandoning of holidays made me realize how important it is to see the world, whenever and as much as possible, through the eyes of children. Christmas and birthdays have always been the best time for seeing life through young eyes - so, as a parent, I have made it a priority to value the magic and mythology of Christmas and childhood. I am thankful that it will be at least part of my legacy.

So, this Christmas, I raise my glass(es) to puppets, dolls, books, and all other things that inspire imagination and joy in the lives of children both young and old.

Merry Christmas!!!


Michael Joshua said...

what a wonderful post. Thanks for this one. I'm one of the old children hoping to touch my young grandchildren's lives. You should write on the family blog more often

Becke Davis said...

I'm so glad you wrote this! I think we have some of those "dead" Pelham puppets in the basement, the result of trying to interest our kids in them at too young an age. And now we've got the Folkmanis puppets - I didn't realize we were carrying on a family tradition!

And to anyone considering a candidate for the future father of your children, one of the top considerations should be a vivid imagination. Marty's stories are some of the kids' favorite memories from their childhood!

Becke Davis said...

I agree, Michael - Marty should post more of his childhood memories here! And maybe some of the stories he used to tell the kids...

dontcallmejessie said...

What a wonderful post, Dad! I love picturing the policeman arresting Sandy MacBoozle! haha! You and Mom always made Christmas such a magical time. Just in general you both were so creative and imaginative (like with the moving Disney baby characters, letters from the tooth fairy, etc.) - I hope I can live up to you when I'm a parent myself! :)

Becke Davis said...

Hah! Don't plan on sleeping much if your kids inherit the family night owl tendencies. Santa had to stay up most of the night waiting for you and your brother to go to sleep.

As you know, he finally started leaving your stockings against your bedroom doors to keep you from sneaking downstairs. And no matter how late Santa waited to do that, within minutes (seconds, usually) you two would be tearing into them. Ahh, those were fun days!

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