This story starts out in 1963. When I was about 13 years old. We lived in Havre De Grace, Maryland.My twin brother Steve and I were two of seven chilrden. There was Jim my older brother. Me .My name's Tom. There was Steve. .our younger brother Larry .And our sisters Ann,Sandy and susan. Of course Mom and Dad .It was about three weeks before christmas. And Our Dad got the mumps. He was about 40 years old at this time. At this age the mumps hit him really hard . Making it to where he couldn't even get out of bed.Much less work.He had a good job as a carpenter. He's one of the best I've ever seen.And over the years he taught me a lot.We lived in what was called the projects of Havre De Grace.Where the middle and lower class people lived. We were better off than a lot of people . But with Dad getting sick it wasn't easy.It was a rough three weeks just before christmas. Money was always short around our house. With seven kids to feed. And christmas on the way.Mom had to borrow from friends to pay the bills and keep us fed.We knew christmas would be slim for us .If we had one at all. We did get a tree. And decorated it with paper rings with we had cut out . We made paste with flour and water to make the decorations. We made a foil star for the top. We were all very impressed. There just wasn't anything to go under the tree. I know that Mom and Dad felt real bad about not being able to give us anything for christmas.The weeks went on . then christmas eve.I remember going outside . And looking at the clear blue sky. Snow had fallen a couple of days before. Everything looked so nice and clean. Like a perfedt world. It was so cold you could see the steam when you breathed. I just looked up and wonded if we were the only family doing with out christmas. And I wondered why us? My brothers and I knew there was wasn't a santa. But my little sisters didn't. Well , we went to bed for the night . Wondering why us . When we woke up the next morning we walked to the kitchen. There was food on the table. A lot of food. Under the tree was sacks of gifts. One for each of us. I remember I got a model airplane . A coloring book and crayons. And some apples and oranges. All of us got hard christmas candy.My sisters got doll's ,fruit and candy .All that girl stuff. We had the best christmas dinner. I didn't know what to think .Where did all this stuff come from ? Well , A friend or neighbor had told the Salvation army about the hard time we were having. And on christmas eve they had brought all the food and gifts. Time , I know they would have rather spent with their families.But you should have seen the faces of my brothers and sistersters when they saw the gifts under the tree.I have never had such a feeling in my life. It brings tearts to my eye's as I think about ti. Every year when I pass a Salvation ringer I put in what I can. In lean times it might not be much . But just a few coins can add up to make someone a christmas. When you pass a bell ringer . Put what you can in that big red pot. I'm 62 years old and that was one time in my life I will never forget.
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