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"Genealogy Today", by Betty Lou Malesky, CG
From the Green Valley News, Sunday 23 December 2012, page B5

Home for the Holidays

As a child, I remember my Grandmother often saying, "It doesn’t seem like Christmas already." At last I guess I’m old enough to understand her thinking, as I’ve been hearing myself say the same phrase the past two weeks. Time passes so fast . . .

This year the song, "Home for the Holidays" seems to be stuck in my mind. It keeps repeating over and over,

"Oh, there's no place like home for the holidays
'Cause no matter how far away you roam
When you pine for the sunshine of a friendly gaze
For the holidays you can’t beat home, sweet home."

Perry Como recorded the song on November 16, 1954. Released as a single for Christmas 1954 by RCA, it soon reached #8 on the Billboard magazine chart in the U.S. He recorded it again in 1959, and in 1984 it was included on a Christmas album by The Carpenters.

I seem to remember hearing it as a small child, but obviously memory is fickle and perhaps makes us believe what we want to believe. When I think of both home, sweet home and Christmas, it’s the celebrations of childhood that immediately come to mind. No matter how old one gets, childhood Christmases remain in our memory as carefree times of gifts, relatives, food and fun.

My memory is cluttered with many happy Christmases. I remember my daughter's first Christmas so well. My first husband and I lived in a two room apartment in Marietta, Ohio where he attended college. My parents drove down from Cleveland to see their first grandchild’s Christmas. It didn’t matter that she was too young to know the difference from any ordinary day.

Then there were the wonderful Christmases in the 70s with my daughter and my three stepchildren in the home my husband Joe and I built in Mentor, Ohio. We decorated the house, baked cookies, wrapped presents, made beef wellington for dinner, entertained relatives and had real old fashioned Christmases.

We moved to Tucson in 1984 and while Christmas was different, it was still a family occasion. Now the little ones were grandchildren rather than children. Who could forget the wonderful white Christmas we enjoyed in 1987on Christmas day right here in Tucson. With two inches of snow, it was nothing like Ohio, but appreciated none the less.

For many of us in Green Valley, however, Christmas is a lonely time. Unlike the 1930s and 40s, today families are scattered all over the U.S and in some cases, the world. Reunions may be few and far between.

My last Christmas with family was in 2008 when I flew to northern California to be with my daughter and grandchildren. Now health prevents my traveling, so I’m grounded here in Green Valley.

My husband and I made Green Valley our home, but this is my sixth Christmas without him and the holidays will never be the same. We can never truly return to "home, sweet home" here on earth once those dear ones who made it home have passed on.

One day we will have a grand reunion in Heaven with those who have gone to their heavenly home before us, and we’ll know the true meaning of "home, sweet home." Until then, I’ll join dear friends here for Christmas dinner as together we commemorate the birth of Jesus Christ, our Lord and Savior, the real reason for the season.

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