It used to start every year around late October. I would go to visit my grandchildren and would be greeted by three little faces, all filled with excitement and falling over each other to show me what had arrived in the mail…..the Sears Wishbook.
What a marvellous thing this was for parents and grandparents to plan the Santa list. I would tell my grandchildren they could mark ten things in the wonderful book and I would buy them something from their list. This way they knew something wonderful would arrive but not what it would be.
Like most young couples my eldest daughter and her hubby had little money to spend frivolously so they really appreciated my gifts for the little ones. The kids were all over five before any more grandbabies arrived, so it was great to be able to spoil them.
My daughter was adamant that no guns would be allowed in the home, so the dog eared pages showing these plastic weapons were ignored, however, there were lots of other turned down pages to chose from, so not a problem. The lack of guns did not faze the two boys as they would “shoot” one another across the table with carrot sticks or ambush one another, from behind the couch with a loaded clothes pin.
Being a gran, meant I did lots of knitting which was a great hobby when little ones loved the decorated sweaters that I designed. The two oldest were boys, just fourteen months apart, so wore the same clothes and had the same interests. My first special knits were black with huge green dinosaurs on the front. It was a actually a brontosaurus, (I think). It had a huge long neck with the top of the head looking over the shoulder.
Good thing they were black as my daughter could rarely get them away from the children to wash. A couple of years later and they were crazy about the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. This was a fairly easy knit as I just made a black, smiley face with the appropriate colour eye mask for Raphael and D’Artangnon. If you don’t know who they were, you obviously didn’t have little boys in the family.
The sweaters were worn until they were scruffy and ugly but the kids loved them. However, the tv program of the Turtles was banned from the house as the kids went wild and acted out the fighting and karate kicks. My daughter really tried to bring up two well behaved little boys but the imagination doesn’t need the real thing to stimulate it, as proved by the ante-gun law in the household.
The arrival of a little girl in the mix was wonderful, allowing grandma’s knitting to take a feminine turn. Pink, white and pastels were a welcome change from sombre blacks and dark greens, however, this little girl had two older brothers as role models and, once she was able to assert her independence, her preference was to wear her brothers grey, black and brown hand me downs. Her mom and I tried over and over to appeal to her feminine side with pink and frills, but no go, she had a mind of her own. This beautiful girl is now thirty and still prefers drab colours, however she brings colour and joy to all our lives, so what can you do???
My other three daughters married and started families so the Christmas budget had to be stretched to include nine grandchildren. The wishbook was no longer the choice of little kids as the electronic game age had arrived and Radio Shack was the place to Christmas shop. Unfortunately, my budget didn’t stretch this far, so gift certificates began to be included with the smaller items from their wish lists.
Knitted sweaters and clothing were now not the fashions the kids wanted so money was the best way to please them. Christmas was so much fun when they were all small, but not so much as they grew up. Family get togethers saw nine grandchildren around the table but, after dinner they all did disappearing acts into varies bedrooms, to play their electronic games in peace.
It is the way of things that children grow up, but they seemed to do it before I was ready to let go and they obviously had been told they had to socialize with the “grands” for a while. Though they tried to look interested in sitting with the oldies, it was not the happy place it used to be.
My memories of the old tattered Wishbook come back at this time of year and I remember the excitement of little faces as they showed me what they wanted Santa to bring. The love I feel inside at these memories is something that can’t be bought from any store and I am truly blessed.