Wednesday, November 30, 2005

... To Grandmother's House We Went

Me and my brother at Christmas

During my childhood my father worked for United Airlines, and was transferred from Washington D.C. to San Francisco in 1962.

This meant we usually traveled twice a year, back to visit the family.

The Christmas visit was my favorite for many reasons, one of which was both locales had snow! I'd previously lived in Maryland, Washington D.C. and Virginia- and was not happy about living in sunny California with it's absence of snow.

My mother's family home in Maryland was decorated simply during the holidays, the main focus being on both food and family. We always took a separate day-trip to see my cousins nearby in Cockeysville, otherwise we were mainly with adult family members.

Grandmother Warren served dinner daily, around 1pm. Supper was usually soup and sandwiches, and eaten in the early evening. Her meals, especially the big Christmas dinner, were consumed at a large dining table, groaning under the weight of various home-cooked foods. This is still my idea of the perfect holiday meal, although I now serve buffet-style due to the size of our dining area.

On the other hand, my father's family in Rochester New York was less formal. My cousins lived just down the street, and were always up for some sledding. The house was decorated to the max, with a huge tree and home fully lit.

Grandmother Nicht's best friend from across the street was a destination in itself! Mert's home was off the charts. One could hardly walk through the living room for all the decorations. There were several trees, trains, tables loaded goodies; and even their bathroom was screaming Christmas!

This grandma cooked things I'd never had anywhere else. Boston Baked Beans, served with brown bread steamed in used cans was a favorite. She always served Swiss Steak, definitely not something I was partial to. Liver and onions...

Returning home after two weeks was always a let-down. Sure, the first thing we did was run to our friend's to see what they received from Santa. It's always good to sleep in one's own bed too... but I always missed that magical snow!

~Disclaimer~ To all you bloggers who are already sick of snow, keep in mind I was a child and didn't have to shovel, nor drive in the stuff. I now live in a place where we get a little of the white stuff- and I still sit up all night watching it fall.


Blogger SoozieQ said...

What neat memories you have of your childhood at Christmas Time SierraBella!

Our last trip to the cabin in Arnold we took my SIL, Brother and Nephew (he had never seen snow before in person). I think he really enjoyed it. There is something to be said about snow during the Holiday season. Yes, as long as you don't have to drive, shovel or walk through it too often ;-)

2:17 PM  
Blogger Squirl said...

Yes, great holiday stories. :-)

In Kentucky it hardly ever snowed. When it did we usually got out of school. It rarely lasted the day. Then we moved to Michigan. I was still a kid, but, crap, it was cold and the snow wouldn't go away until May! Too much shock for me.

I could live without snow for the rest of my life and be happy.

2:31 PM  
Blogger Romani Heart said...

I always act five when I see the first snow. It's usually not until the odd occasion where it snows butt deep that I started saying "enough already."

3:28 PM  
Blogger SierraBella said...

I believe, had we lived closer to the family, the memories wouldn't be so significant...
I'll bet your nephew loved the cabin, and the snow.
I thought about buying another sled, but our best hill ends at a large maple tree surrounded by a rock circle!

Thanks. I hope to read some good stories this season in BlogWorld.
I knew you were going to be one of the snow-haters!
I was in shock when we moved to sunny California. My parents happened to look at this house in the fogbelt near S.F. on the one sunny day we'd get each year! I lived in fog for about 12 years total...

3:30 PM  
Blogger SierraBella said...

Hi, you slipped in while I was commenting!
I'm like a big kid when it snows. We pour some wine, or something better (after all it's cold!) and watch the snow fall.

I've only been able to read about one third of my usual blogs today, so I'll be catching up with everyone tomorrow!

3:34 PM  
Blogger nope said...

I love that photo - you can see Christmas shining in your eyes! Such wonderful good times and memories - you are truly one of the blessed!


There, that's my snow for you this evening ...

5:47 PM  
Blogger dredom man said...

Sierrabella, you are quite the romancer with the pen, so to speak. A gift that lets the reader see the setting instead of the words. I remember wonderfule family Christmases on the farm where my dad would go off to "see where Santa was" and then Santa would arrive....

6:43 PM  
Blogger Kat said...

I love snow. We hardly ever get it here. And it is never enough to sled or anything. It just looks pretty for a day or two. I would like to take the kids somewhere with snow for a weekend sometime. Just so they could experience it.

6:52 PM  
Blogger Nina said...

Wonderful memories ~ even living in snow areas all my life. So many times there wasn't snow for Christmas. Even living in Colorado we may not have snow for Christmas. But if I want it bad enough I could go up to the mountains where they have a lot to spare. If I have to have snow, Christmas would be the time for me to like it.
I love that you got exposed to different traditions, even to the amount of decorations.

7:16 PM  
Blogger defiant goddess said...

Native southern Californian here. What is this "white Christmas" I've seen in all the holiday cartoons? Heehee.

I loved reading your memories and that picture is adorable.

6:38 AM  
Blogger SierraBella said...

Thanks for the snow! It's raining pretty hard right now, but not even any hail yet.
I'm happy to have all these old photos, which help to jog the memory.

dredom man-
What a wonderful story about the arrival of Santa. Your dad sounds like Clark Kent- never there when Superman is!

Aha, another snow lover!
My parents used to do a yearly snow pilgrimage to Lake Tahoe to play in the stuff.
Your kids will love it!

I've seen some of your snowy photographs. I only recently became aware of the fact it can be too cold to snow.
Duh on me!
I'm also glad I was exposed to different traditions. It gave me a broader view on celebrating.

I know where you're coming from- my husband is a native Northern Californian, and saw snow only twice until we moved up to the foothills.
Thank you for your compliments!

1:33 PM  
Blogger eclectic said...

Oh Sierra, what wonderful, wistful memories! Food, family and SNOW!! We've got enough snow right now to share, so I'll let you have some of mine. But I'm keeping a lot of it, too. I, like you, LOVE the snow -- probably it's childish how much I love it. But, there it is: I've confessed.

4:54 PM  
Blogger Bucky Four-Eyes said...

I don't mind the snow...but my monkey? HATES it. ;)

9:44 AM  
Blogger SierraBella said...

I'll take any excess snow you have!
We have a few fair days in the forecast, and now the temps will be dropping! Dang!

You know that monkeys are prone to frostbite...

11:46 AM  
Blogger Squirl said...

So sorry to hear that it was that foggy there. I knew SF had fog but didn't know it was that bad. My brother never really talked about fog when he lived there.

I just posted about how snow messed up my plans this weekend.

4:58 PM  
Blogger Squirl said...

I forgot to mention that I love this picture. :-)

My word verification is oartv. Oar TV, is this a new cable channel for rowers?

7:49 AM  
Blogger cheesecakey said...

I love the pictures and stories of your family!

I like the snow because I don't have to live in it and can just visit!

9:47 AM  
Blogger Sylvana said...

I don't think that I could live in a place that didn't get snow not for long anyway. I love snow!!

I love the big meals that the holidays bring. Al the comfort food! Yummy!!

10:42 AM  
Blogger SierraBella said...

Oh yeah, the fog can be awful. Depressing too.
I'm going to have to look at your post!
Thanks about the picture.
I wouldn't be surprised to find a cable channel for rowers, there's most everything else represented already.

Just visiting snow is good!
It was in the 20s this morning, but we had ice, and not snow.

Aha, another snow lover!
Oh yes, comfort foods are definitely good too.

12:59 PM  
Blogger Rae Ann said...

I love to watch the snow fall too! We might get some later this week. I sure hope so! Your grandmother's table loaded with food sounds like my memories of Thanksgiving and Christmas at my grandmother's too.

6:43 AM  
Blogger SierraBella said...

rae ann-
Lucky you! We've been having frost in the mornings, but when the rains come, it warms to just above freezing. A big tease!
I'm trying to do some of the things my grandmothers did, to make special memories for my own grandson...

12:29 PM  

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