It seemed like the Christmas season was colder and snowier. Our tradition included driving around the city looking at the Christmas lights beautifully decorating the homes. My mom would load my sister and I with a few friends into our blue Nova station wagon (the backseat folded down so we could line both sides of the back with kids - there were no seatbelt rules). We would tour the city, pausing in front of some houses to "ooh
and "ah." Our favorite stop was a house on North Ermine Street - we never saw so many lights.
Then we'd come home and patiently wait for the milk to simmer in the saucepan on the stove for our treat of hot cocoa. We'd also visit Santa who was parked in front of Kresge's in a camping trailer, waiting nervously in the cold for our turn to go inside, sit on his lap, tell him our wishes and have a photo taken.
We lived on lower King Street which was a wonderful neighborhood of families we all knew. We walked to Sacred Heart School every day, very rarely getting a ride, in all kinds of weather. We attended 8 a.m. Mass every day, walked home for our one-hour lunch time passing all the small businesses on Main Street decorated for the holidays. We especially loved to stop in Ludlum's Variety Store after school. Along with it having the best Christmas decorations for sale on the first floor, the basement was the best toy department around. My mom managed the toy department so I could see her briefly as I scanned the aisles for the new Barbie dolls and her cool accessories.
Main Street was lit with zig-zagging strings of multi-colored lights. I was a constant companion with three sisters, whom I did just about everything with, walking everywhere, occasionally sharing antics, like the time we were shown the switch that turned the Christmas street lights on and off. They boosted me up and we playfully flickered the lights off and on Fourth and Main streets. This is what we did after choir practice in Sacred Heart Church for Christmas Midnight Mass which we thought was a big deal to stay up late. We'd have our moments practicing in the church balcony, occasionally "accidentally" knocking our song books off the balcony ledge and hearing the loud echo of them hitting the empty church floor 30 feet below. We did sing like angels for Midnight Mass and were so excited afterward. Before sleepily heading home for Santa, our priest, Father Joseph Sharmach, presented us with $1 and a box of chocolate candy for a job well done. We were so lucky.
Pamela (Tworek) Corsoro