My Advent Calendar of Music – Day #12: Songs from a Shared Childhood

My sister and me

Today’s post is a little different from all the rest.

You see, on December 12, 2008, my sister Beverly passed away suddenly and unexpectedly. I wanted to honor her memory today, and in keeping with the theme of this series, I looked for music that reminded me of her. (I’ll be honest with you – I delayed writing this post until all of the others had been completed and scheduled; I put it off as long as I could…)

I thought about sharing some of my favorite memories of Christmas music we loved when we were kids – but Bev and I always had very different tastes in music. Then I realized that the one thing that we definitely shared in common growing up were the TV specials that we watched each year at Christmastime. Unlike today, if you missed one of these shows, you had to wait a whole year before you had a chance to see it again.

They were a BIG DEAL.

So today – if you will indulge me – I’m going to relive some of those happy memories of times gone by. Since Bev isn’t here to reminisce, I hope you don’t mind if I share my remembrances with you.
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When I was growing up, this was how we KNEW that Christmas was coming – A Charlie Brown Christmas (1965) came on TV. I can’t remember if I saw it the first year that it aired – I would have just turned 5 – but it was always a part of Christmas growing up.

The character of Linus will always have a special place in my heart, because – like him – Bev used to carry around a security “blanket”; in her case, it was a well-loved teddy bear (which we found while going through her things; he is now “living” at my house).

“Bear”

Bev and I behaved like absolute ANGELS so that we would be allowed to watch Christmas specials. I’m not gonna lie – we always checked the TV Guide ahead of time to know whether we had to be extra-special good any particular week or not; if certain shows weren’t on the schedule, all bets were off…. (sorry, Mom!)

I’m sure we drove our parents crazy, dancing around the house, imitating the kids from that scene – I always liked doing the one with the “head bob” and hopping from one leg to another; Bev liked to do the “Zombie Walk”. And of course, we would pester our parents to buy us some Dolly Madison cakes afterwards (I don’t think they ever did, but we figured it never hurt to ask).

Here’s the entire piece of music as performed by the Vince Guaraldi Trio – the name of this piece of music is “Linus and Lucy”. Even now – all these years later – whenever I hear this song, it means that Christmas.Is.Coming:
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For whatever reason, this was always my favorite song from Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer (1964) – Burl Ives singing “(Have a) Holly Jolly Christmas”. I just loved his “fat snowman” character – living in South Texas, we never saw snow at Christmastime (I was 12 years old before I actually saw snow in real life):
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I seem to remember Frosty the Snowman (1969) being one of Bev’s favorite Christmas shows. I never understood why I didn’t care for it quite as much as she did – my guess is that I was starting to outgrow kids’ shows at that point; being 9 years old, I had already figured a couple of things out.

That was the first year that I was allowed to stay up late and help do “grown-up” things on Christmas Eve.  I got to draw the card that Santa gave Bev that year, letting her know that she was going to be getting a kitten for Christmas.  “Mama Kitty” was a beloved member of our family well into our college years.

Bev was only 7 when this came out – the prime age for believing in “that magic” – and I remember wanting to help her keep that feeling alive for a few more years:
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My favorite song from Santa Claus is Coming to Town (1970)has always been “Put One Foot In Front of the Other” – it wasn’t until years later that I realized that Mickey Rooney was the person who sang this song:
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Finally, it just wasn’t Christmas unless we saw How The Grinch Stole Christmas (1966). We just LOVED it when Thurl Ravenscroft (the voice of Tony the Tiger) sang “You’re a Mean One, Mr. Grinch” – it’s just a fun song.

We loved seeing all the Whos down in Whoville, Cindy Lou Who, and Max the Dog’s crazy antics; I can still remember Dad laughing right along with us (heck, he STILL laughs when he sees it!). Bev and I shared a slightly wicked sense of humor, and we loved cleverly-put-together words and phrases; I guess that’s why we liked The Grinch so much (this is not the footage that goes with the original song – copyright issues prevent that from being posted):
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Well, that’s it for today – thanks for letting me share my memories with you.

I love you and miss you, Bev – your present is still under our tree…. ♥
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About Teresa in Fort Worth, TX

A short, fat, middle-aged, happily-married, mother of 4 daughters. A former high school valedictorian (way back in the Stone Age), a Civil Engineering major in college, a middle-of-the-road Conservative, and a moderate Methodist. I know just enough to get myself in trouble....
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11 Responses to My Advent Calendar of Music – Day #12: Songs from a Shared Childhood

  1. This is so lovely, Teresa! All of these clips made me yearn for that sweet innocence that we had a children, watching that magic unfold.

    And I can’t think of a more loving tribute to your sister.

    Like

  2. Mom says:

    Thanks Sweetie – I love you.
    Mom

    Like

    • Love you too, Mom – wish I were there to give you and Dad a big hug. I posted a copy of this on Mike’s Facebook page; I guess he’ll see it eventually.

      Thanks to you and Dad for giving us a wonderful childhood – those were very happy times for the two of us, and I cherish them even more now that she’s gone….

      Like

  3. Sandra says:

    Great tribute-I think about Bev often and will always miss her.

    Like

  4. The Queen says:

    I, too, remember what a big deal it was to watch the Christmas specials every year (and ask for Dolly Madison treats!)
    What a beautifully told memory!

    Like

  5. roamingfirehydrant says:

    Mr. RFH and I have both lost siblings. I sort of expected to outlive my brother since he was 17 years older but not this soon. For me, my favorite Christmas memory was when he was home on leave from the Navy and brought me a Raggedy Ann doll in a brown paper bag. I still have it.

    They also cut “My World is Beginning Today” from “Santa Claus Is Coming to Town”. Another brother recorded all the songs from my favorite Christmas specials onto cassette for me.

    It helps to remember the good times.

    Like

    • I’m so glad that you have mementos from your siblings – I’m sure that Raggedy Ann doll will be passed down to future grandkids one day (with a sweet story). I plan on passing along Bear to my nephew’s first baby when the time comes – they can have the Bobby Sherman lunchbox when they get a little bit older…..

      Like

  6. anisharnr says:

    ….. Thanks Teresa i needed this!

    Like

    • Glad you liked it! Now go find a tree that needs a little loving, hang an ornament on it, and watch Linus’ speech about the TRUE meaning of Christmas (that show was all about Charlie Brown not being able to get excited about Christmas that year, remember?).

      Like

  7. Carroll Gennings says:

    From Carroll Gennings……I think about her all the time…she was full of energy and spunk, and I was honored to have her in my life as my cousin…ironically, after several years of not seeing each other, we connected right here on facebook and traded many messages in the months prior to her death….that was God’s gift to me….heaven gained an angel….love you Bev!

    Like

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