What I Say

What I Say

Ideas, thoughts, options, arguments

The Ghost of Christmas Passed

Christmas is supposed to be the most joyous day of the year1 but for some, the ghosts, hard aches, and traumas have negatively affect us during the holiday season. We tried to ignore, suppress and disregard the past, but inevitably, it kicks us in the gut.

1969 was not my worst Christmas but it certainly near the top of the list. We were living in Brazil Indiana a small town about 50 miles west of Indianapolis. I was working at the radio station there, and the job did not work out. My wife, three months pregnant, and young two-year-old daughter and I would move to Indianapolis in late December.

On December 22, my wife and I drove to Indianapolis to rent a truck to move our meager belongings. It started snowing as we drove home. I was driving the truck, and my wife was following in the car.

The snow worsened; visibility was near zero and I 70 had become very slick. I lost sight of her in the rearview mirror but continued back to our place. When she didn’t show up within about a half hour I began to worry that something had happened.

Our next-door neighbor was a state trooper, so I went to see him. He made some calls and found out she was in a wreck. She was not hurt but she was stranded at the truck stop. I drove back to pick her up and we drove home. The next day, with some hired help, we packed the truck and drove to Indianapolis. We had no job, no car, and almost no money.

We arrived at our new place but the person who was following us who was going to help us unload did not show up. He was transporting my wife’s guitar and her favorite lamp. We didn’t know a soul in Indianapolis personally but made some phone calls and found the place to sleep that night. Next day, Christmas Eve we found a couple of folks to help us unload the truck.

There were probably 4 inches of snow, maybe more on the ground. After we had unloaded the truck, I drove the truck to the rental place where a small staff was having a Christmas party. I had to walk through the deep snow back home which was about four or five miles away. I did not have a map and was not sure of exactly how to make it home.

I was very sad walking through the cold and snow on that Christmas Eve. When I saw the GC Murphy’s department store, I knew I was going in the right direction. I went inside before they closed and bought a small gift for my wife and walked the rest of the way; about a mile to the house feeling very dejected not knowing what the future would bring.

 

My Appartment

My Appartment

However, my worse Christmas was 1964. I was living in a very small apartment that Johnny Lovelace owned. It was located a couple of blocks from Vanderbilt University and was very notorious for prostitution and other lowlife. The first floor had a small convenience store. I guess there were about thirty maybe forty apartments in the building, mine was on the second floor.

My apartment was a very small studio and had an old gas range, fridge, a shower/bathroom. There was a bed with a beat- up couch, and a tiny Formica dinette table.

A female friend, more a friend than a lover, was staying with me for a few days. I lost my job delivering radio/TV tubes and other parts so I was broke.

Christmas Eve morning we woke up with no food in the refrigerator except a little margarine, and I had one large onion so breakfast consisted of fried onions. I was depressed, but I was meeting my friend Tommy downtown at Harvey’s department store. I borrowed a couple of bucks from someone, walk downtown, and we had lunch and exchanged news since we hadn’t seen each other in a few months.

I walked back home to the apartment feeling very dejected and sad. Sure I could go home to my parents where I would be welcome, but I would feel like a failure. Before the end of the day, someone showed up with a bottle of rock gut whiskey, which we all drank, and our cares disappeared at least for that Christmas Eve.

1 The Preacher’s Wife by Nat Mauldin and Allan Scott

 

 

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