Mary Hell- the baby and Dewe-the Clone...my "jammie" sisters
It's Christmas evening and I have been in my warm flannel jammies all day long. I've napped, I've watched Christmas movies & concerts, and I've been reading a wonderful book, sent to me by Michelle. These blue flannel jammies remind me of a Christmas long, long ago when I was a little girl of seven.
My mother, widowed then, had moved our family, from the farm on the Reservation, to a tiny little house in the city of Pocatello. The house seemed like a mansion to me and my siblings compared to the farmhouse with it's three rooms and a "path". The mansion was about 800 square feet & had a "sitting" room, dining room, kitchen, two very small bedrooms, a real indoor bathroom, a dirt-walled basement that housed the furnace in one tiny area, along with another room where my brothers slept. We affectionately called that basement the dungeon. There was a small enclosed back porch where the old Maytag wringer washer and movable twin rinse tubs sat. Part of that back porch had been walled off to create a tiny bedroom where Dolores,(my twin) Mary (seven years old) and I slept and played.
Christmas at our house was sparse but wonderful at the same time. We always had a tree, decorated with glass ornaments, bubble lights and tons of tinsel, my favorite thing about the tree. I loved the sparkle, the more the better, in my young eyes. My Mom, a wonderful cook, would bake pies, cookies, and cinnamon rolls; her fudge and divinity were the best I've ever had the pleasure to eat. On Christmas day she would cook a wonderful dinner, everything made from scratch. That tiny house would be filled with Aunts, Uncles, Cousins and anyone else who had nowhere to go for dinner; Mom always seemed to know who had that need. The adults would visit, play cards or other board games while the kids played, indoors and out. There was always plenty to eat and an abundance of laughter and fun for everyone.
That third Christmas in Pocatello was one I will never forget because of a pair of blue flannel pajamas. While we were always clothed, fed and sheltered, we lived with only the basics. Pajamas to sleep in, were not a basic that I had ever known in the nine years of my life. Since there was always three to five of us in a bed, getting cold was not an issue. My sister, Carol, had been married that year and having been exposed to a "bigger" world outside of farm life, decided that it was only proper that her three youngest sisters (Dolores, Mary and me) wear something more than undies to bed each night. I don't know how or when she managed, but she sewed each of us a pair for Christmas. On Christmas Eve we were allowed to open one gift before going to bed, Carol insisting we open hers that Christmas. The three of us loved our beautiful sister Carol, so were happy to make her happy. We couldn't believe our eyes! Real pajamas....only the rich kids, living on the hill, had such luxuries. We were thrilled, running off to put them on immediately. Each pair was a different color, blue for me, pink for Mary and green for Dolores. We modeled them for everyone, squealing with joy and laughter, for this wonderful gift. Mom sent us off to bed, because it would soon be time for Santa Clause to make his annual trip, and we knew we had to be sound asleep or he would pass us by.
In our tiny room, we all sat on our bed, chattering about the beautiful jammies, while we stared out the back window at the dark sky, it's stars shining, hoping for a glimpse of the man-himself, and his eight tiny reindeer. We grew sleepy and quieted down to a whisper, warm in our beautiful flannel jammies. The last memory I have of that Christmas Eve as we drifted into lullaby land, was baby sister Mary saying , "I can hear the sleigh bells........... Santa's coming!"
Carol is gone now, but I will never forget those PJ's and the love and caring that went into every stitch. It is, indeed, a favorite memory of her for me on this 2007 Christmas night...........and my favorite sleepwear is still flannel pajamas.