The gray warm weather of the last few days, as well as knowing school children started their Christmas break yesterday surrounds me like chains of unpleasant Christmas memories. The endless gray and rain filled many thoughts of my times in high school, when a girl shouldn't have been depressed. All the tests were over, relatives coming in for the holidays, yet, waking to the oppressive clouds and not quite darkness all the time kept me from all the joy the season promises.
My mother would take to bed during these days at times, too. She experienced disappointment. She held large lofty ideas of Better Homes and Gardens Christmases that only those with a paid crew could create. One day my brother-in-law and I tossed a pillow causing a clean break of a glass basket. This incident threw my mother into a spiral of depression. A dear friend had given it to her. She ranted about our carelessness at breaking this treasure. My sister picked it up and downplayed it. Simple gluing fixed the handle. Herman and I slunk around like the scolded children we were made to feel.
The Shenango Valley during the mid seventies also experienced a depression as the steel mills slowly lost ground in our economy. I escaped the house depression with Diane and Herman on the annual tour of the Valley in the wet and foggy gray of the dirty factory houses, and bars down Roemer Boulevard, seeing the skeleton of Sharon Steel at the end of the hill. We joked and laughed, sang the All in Family theme song. Soon it got so dark as early afternoon turned into night. We awed at the lights but without snow they aren't as pretty.
So today, I feel the chains of these vacations. I'm not on vacation. At one in the afternoon, I need to turn on the light as darkness surrounds me, literally. I will go to work today and rejoice with carolers as I'm passing my medications. I will gladly give out hugs that warm my body as well. I will shake off these chains of Christmas past and remember on Christmas day, I never was disappointed.