Carole’s Christmas Connection

Thanks for sending your memories of the season. It you haven’t, please do. (The address is If you’re wondering what his is all about, please drop in on the podcast.

Here’s one from Proud Podacst Participant Carole:

Dick, I’m with you – regarding the Christmas and Holiday Season, with all the joy, love, and good feelings it entails.

I have one particular memory that I thought I’d share with you.

Like you, I was raised (mostly) in Brooklyn. There was something that my Dad and I did each and every Christmas season — usually between Christmas and New Years’. He and I would take the train to midtown Manhattan, and take a walking tour of all the beautiful decorations and attractions. (The tree and displays at Rockefeller Center, the animated windows of Saks 5th Avenue, and many other department stores which have long since ceased to exist.) If memory serves, there used to be at least 3 animated store windows in Manhattan, with Saks’ always being the grandest and most memorable. There was St. Patrick’s cathedral, the illuminated Snowflake at 57th Street & Fifth Avenue. We’d walk all the way down to 34th Street and over to Macy’s before stopping at a Chock Full ‘O Nuts for a cup of coffee and one of their memorable date-nut bread and cream cheese sandwiches before hopping the train home to Coney Island.

One year, Dad decided (because it had snowed and was very, very cold) that we’d do something different and drive into the city and park somewhere before taking our tour.

We got as far as the middle of Red Hook when the car began to sputter and we had to get off the Gowanus Parkway to get some help. He parked in front of a mariner’s bar under the el, admonishing me to stay in the car while he called for help. Someone finally came and got the car started again, but by that time it was pretty late, so Dad decided to head home thru the Brooklyn streets instead of risking getting stuck on the highway. We got as far as the middle of Bay Ridge when the car sputtered and died again. We were in the middle of a residential neighborhood with no stores or phone booths (this was LONG before the advent of cellphones, which we so take for granted today) and had no idea what to do. Dad had the hood open when a young man stopped his car to see if he could help. He was very kind, and got us going again. We finally made it to a gas station where they fixed whatever the problem had been. I called my Mother from the gas station phone booth and I was so cold I was shaking uncontrollably and my teeth were chattering.

I was never so happy to get home in my life! Mom greeted me with a glass of blackberry brandy.

Even though we never did make it to the City, it’s one of those memories that I treasure. I think that was actually the last Christmas Dad and I “did our thing”. Those times with him were very special. Interestingly, I haven’t thought about that for many years – but when you asked for a Christmas story – it popped into my head.

I was around 16 years old that last trip — but we started going into the city for Christmas when I was 8 or 9 years old, and the magic of the season has remained with me ever since.

Sometimes, things that seem unremarkable at the time turn out to be the most memorable and treasured of all!!! 

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