Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Advent Calendar 2011 -- Day 21 Christmas Music

Christmas music is my favorite part of the Christmas Season.  I always remember Christmas records being played on the stereo at home as we trimmed the tree and Christmas music played on the radio from Christmas eve through Christmas Day.  At school we sang Christmas songs, though I don't remember any exact titles.  In 7th and 8th grade, I was in Girls & Boys Chorus and we once went to Rossmoor (the local senior community) and sang Christmas songs.  One of the songs I remember singing was "O Come, All Ye Faithful" because we sang a verse or two in Latin.  So I guess we sang both religious and secular songs in those days.

I had fond memories of one particular record by Burl Ives that had "The Twelve Days of Christmas" on it.  My work partner found the record for me on eBay and it is very nice to now listen to it again at Christmas.  My daughters took piano lessons and played Christmas songs through the New Year.

My favorite Christmas songs are (not in any particular order):

  • O Holy Night
  • Pat a Pan
  • Angels We Have Heard on High
  • Do You Hear What I Hear?
  • Christmas Canon
  • Carol of the Bells
  • The Twelve Days of Christmas
  • The Little Drummer Boy
  • Sleigh Bells - (especially the Alhambra HS band)
  • O Tannenbaum

Copyright © 2011 by Lisa Suzanne Gorrell, My Trails into the Past

Friday, December 9, 2011

Advent Calendar 2011 -- Day 9 Grab Bag - Matching Holiday Dresses

Lisa with daughters, Elizabeth (age 8) & Margaret (age 6), 1997
When scanning photos for the Christmas Cookies post, I found this photo taken of my daughters and me with matching Holiday dresses.  I'm pretty sure I ordered them from a catalog, though I don't remember which one.  In order to get the most out of the dresses, we wore them everywhere we could: a Christmas party at my friend, Beth; church on Christmas eve, and then to my parents on Christmas Day.  The girls might have worn them to school on the final day before winter break.

Copyright © 2011 by Lisa Suzanne Gorrell, My Trails into the Past

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Advent Calendar 2011 -- Day 8 Christmas Cookies

I have fond memories of Christmas Cookies, both baking and eating!  My mother always had us make sugar cookies we rolled out onto the large kitchen table and cut using the many different shapes.  I was very fond of the tree, Santa & sleigh, and star shapes.  Once baked, we then decorated them with colored frosting and sprinkles.  I remember the old silver and gold sprinkles made with traces of real metal!

When I had children, we cut cookies at our kitchen table, too.  I collected many different cookie cutters and my daughters enjoyed rolling, cutting, and frosting the cookies.  The photos here show my daughters with friends at a friend's house having a Christmas Cookie party.

Elizabeth, Mike, Aaron & Margaret

Adam & Margaret

As you can see, there was always lots of flour around--on the table, in their clothes, and hair!  But they had such a wonderful time creating their masterpieces--each cookie carefully decorated.  Of course, they got to take home the ones they made.
Adam, Jack & Margaret
The best part of Christmas cookies is the sharing of cookies and then receiving many different kinds in return. My grandmother, Mam-ma always baked for days prior to Christmas and we received fudge, peanut butter balls, chocolate covered pretzel pieces, and many other treats.  Our tenant always brought us persimmon cookies.  I loved to make fudge, snickerdoodles, and chocolate chip cookies to share.  My daughter, Margaret liked to make split seconds, a cookie filled with jam.

What shall we make this year when the girls are home from college?

Copyright © 2011 by Lisa Suzanne Gorrell, My Trails into the Past

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Church Record Sunday - Baptism of Anna Marie Sullivan

Anna Marie Sullivan
     My grandmother, Anna Marie Sullivan was born 15 Oct 1892 in Anaconda, Deer Lodge Co, Montana to John H. Sullivan and Anna Marie Gleeson.  She was the last of six children (four girls and one boy).

     She was baptized 19 Oct 1892 at St. Paul's Catholic Church in Anaconda.  I have a copy of her baptism certificate but it is not the original.  This certificate is dated 1953.  I don't know why my grandmother obtained a new copy of her baptismal certificate but she must have done so while on a trip to Montana in 1953.

Baptismal Certificate for Anna Marie Sullivan
dated 1953

The transcription reads:
Certificate of Baptism
St. Paul's Church
Anaconda, Montana

This is to Certify
The Baptismal Register records the following:
That   Anna Marie Sullivan                          
Child of     John Sullivan                            
And     Anna Gleaeson                             
born in the City of Anaconda     State of  Mont        
on the    15  day of   October     1892       and
was            Baptized
on the    19    day of   October   1892       
According to the Rite of the Roman Catholic Church 
by the Rev.       P. De Siere    

the sponsors being:   Michael Sullivan
                          Anna Dorian
Dated: Aug 20, 1953                   
                                                                        Joseph P. Schulte  , Pastor

    I think I know who Michael Sullivan is.  This could be John's brother, Michael J. Sullivan who was living in Butte, Montana.  I do not know who Anna Dorian is at this time.  Someone new to research!

Copyright © 2011 by Lisa Suzanne Gorrell, My Trails into the Past

Friday, December 2, 2011

Advent Calendar 2011 -- Days 1 & 3 Christmas Tree & Ornaments

c. 1973 Walnut Creek, CA

   Christmas tree ornaments changed throughout my life.  Early on, my mother had an aluminum artifical tree that had only blue balls on it.  She had a blue spot light pointing down on the tree.  The next year, she'd buy green or red balls and a new spotlight color.  Our house in Pittsburg had a large picture window in the front and it was put on display.

   Later, when we lived in Walnut Creek, she switched to evergreen colored artificial trees.  We still had colored glass balls but now they were of many colors.  The tree also spotted colored lights and once the tree was completely filled with balls, my mother meticulously laid strands of tinsel on each branch.

   As we children grew older, we demanded more part of dressing the tree.  Now homemade ornaments and paper or popcorn strands adorned the tree.  Artificial trees made the way for aromatic Scotch pine trees--still my mother patiently applied individual strands of tinsel on the tree after all the children had gone to bed.

   When I finally had a tree of my own, I skipped artificial and tinsel.  I used all white lights and cute wooden and Papier-mâché ornaments I purchased first from Cost Plus and later at many outlets.  Musical instruments, drums, baseballs, and trains make up the majority of my ornaments until children were born.  Now we acquired yearly ornaments with their names and date printed neatly.  Disney ornaments seemed to be the favorite among my young princesses.

   What will my tree be like once my girls have homes of their own?  I'm not sure, but ornaments that longed to adorn my tree from the past may find their way again.  Or I may reminisce the German Bells we made in my 4th grade class from foiled wrapping paper.  If you want to learn how, here is a great site with photos to help with each step.

Copyright © 2011 by Lisa Suzanne Gorrell, My Trails into the Past