December 18, 2009

Christmas memories

Nylons bring back memories of uncomfortable Midnight Mass

By Cathy Bloom (Special to The Criterion)

My Christmas memory is of a special Christmas Eve in the late 1950s.

I had a very special aunt, Winnie, who saw only goodness in her nieces and nephews when we were growing up. She attended all our school programs and sporting events, always saying how great we were, whatever our part.

Wonderful memories of Aunt Winnie include her perfect gift giving. She did not have much money, but she worked at the local department store as a sales clerk, and she knew fashion. The latest in purses, hats and gloves would be purchased for us at Christmas.

One year, my request to her was for nylon stockings. I wanted to wear nylons to Midnight Mass on Christmas that year. I knew she would think it was a great idea.

Our family always stopped by her apartment before Midnight Mass. I had high hopes of wearing nylons as I sang in the choir at Mass. I thought it would be the best Christmas present ever.

Aunt Winnie did not disappoint me. With a quick, delighted “thank you,” I was off to her bedroom to change into the nylons to wear with my black pumps. I was so happy.

We all walked to Midnight Mass. The nylons seemed a little uncomfortable, but I knew they looked great and the other girls would be so excited.

I don’t remember if the girls were impressed with my nylons. I just remember my legs itching, getting hot and feeling funny from the nylons seemingly cutting off my circulation.

I spent most of Midnight Mass hoping that it would be over soon so I could get my nylons off and go back to wearing bobby socks.

Each year at Midnight Mass, I say a little prayer and wish a Merry Christmas to my very special Aunt Winnie—especially if I am wearing nylons!

(Cathy Bloom is a member of St. Malachy Parish in Brownsburg.)

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