I was going through some old books, and I came across something my mother wrote nearly 20 years ago. I had to share.

It’s an annual Christmas letter written by my mom but in the voice of my grandmother. At the time she wrote it, she was living in Northern Virginia, taking care of my grandmother. The two of them thought this would be a delightful way to inform friends and associates of the happenings in our family. They also wrote it as a response to all the joyful, celebratory annual christmas letters they had received.

So my mom wrote it, and they sent it.

Keep in mind that this was the late 90’s, a time when people were in the habit of writing annual holiday letters that spoke of amazing vacations, fancy weddings, babies, home improvements, new jobs, and pets. And anything else brag-worthy. 

And also keep in mind that the people that received my mom’s letter were kind of hoity-toity.

I’m sharing this mainly because I think it’s hysterical. And because I want to celebrate how awesome my mom is. And how grateful I am that I got her sense of humor. I’m so damn lucky.

Marie’s Annual Christmas Letter

Greetings and Merry Christmas!

First of all, sorry for the delay. I didn’t have any electricity here for a bit because I couldn’t pay my power bill…(Texas Hold ’em has a hold on me)…so I had to wait until I could shake down a Salvation Army Santa, which I did, and then thankfully, as our good Lord said, “Let there Be Light!”

Now for the family update: 1997 has been a pretty good year. We haven’t lost anyone, although my grandson Dave and his wife Cassie did misplace their new baby Joseph for a few hours. Joseph had been chosen out of all the other baby boys in Bethesda to be Baby Jesus in the live nativity at a local church. Dave dropped little Joseph off in the manger thinking Mary and her Joseph would be along any minute, and then Dave went on to do some Christmas shopping. However, it turns out it wasn’t a manger in front of a church but a planter in front of a Synagog. A nice Rabbi brought Joseph home later that evening, safe and happy. The good news is Dave and Cassie never even missed him! They are both so dedicated to their careers. God love ’em.

My granddaughter Cathy and her husband Alan are doing great, but they had a hard year financially. They invested their life savings in Cabbage Patch Kids stock. It turns out they were a little late to the game, but they took it well. They sold their house and bought a tiny trailer which Alan pulls around on his motorcycle. It really does make sense to be mobile these days. Their little maestro, Ryan, is 6, and he has the most magnificent “opera” voice. They’re really hoping he’ll be discovered this holiday season. Cathy has adorned him with Christmas lights and he stands on top of the trailer singing “Lady of Spain” while Alan drives around Arlington. What a treat for the neighbors, especially the senior citizens. And little Sarah is so cute…. ahead of her age group, and at 11 months old she is doing most of the cooking for the family.

Katie and Jenny, my two granddaughters at the beach, are doing fantastic. Katie did have minor surgery this year but has made a (mostly) complete recovery. What happened was her nose ring became entwined with the lovely ring in her upper lip. It was kind of neat for a while, kind of urban-chic, but it ended up being quite a nuisance for her. However the surgeon did a beautiful repair job. The minor glitch is that he did have to leave her upper lip permanently connected to her nose. She looks like a donkey braying, but the good news is that her newly “whitened” teeth really show up now. (Which is a really positive thing for such a young smoker.)

Jenny was working at the fragrance counter at Hechts, spraying fragrance samples for customers. She wisely thought people could smell them better if the fragrance went close to their nose instead of wasting it in the air, so, well, she pretty much assaulted a few people. Hechts terminated her after a few customers were rushed to the emergency room, but it didn’t get her down. She went back to her old job of renting beach chairs and umbrellas down at the oceanfront, however she hasn’t had any customers since the first frost. But she sure is fit! Freezing must burn a lot of calories.

My daughters Susan and Linda are really something. They’re both STILL divorced. I’m so proud.

Susan has a new look in her dining room. Instead of just ripping her old carpet up, she decided to remove the whole floor. Now you have a clear view straight to the basement. She has planks for you to walk across, it really is very contemporary. Very 90’s.

Linda is still doing Christmas Carols in sign language for Public Radio. She has such a good heart.

As for me, I had a lovely trip this year, all the way up the road to Falls Church. The lights were just beautiful, and the natives were very kind and welcoming. If you get a chance, it’s a trip well worth the effort.

Of course, we are still very into our cats. Some died.  Some didn’t. The dead ones we had freeze dried and stuffed, and now they’re mounted in the living room. (The stuffer did a great job. I have his contact number should you need it. It’s a great way to keep the memory alive.)

Well, that’s about it. Wishing you all the best for 1998.


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