Christmas is definitely the time for memories!
Back in 1939, my Grammie Hennie was just a relatively new mom with three small kids. She went down to Montgomery Wards one day, and they were giving away copies of their new Christmas story, Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer. Being who she was, she surely took a few copies, because our family motto of “if one is good, two is better” had to start somewhere. She might have read this new story to her own three kids.
Years later, she gave a copy of this story to my parents. Being fond of tradition, it became a ritual that every year my mom would read us the story of Rudolph before bed on Christmas Eve. I can not remember now if the hanging of stockings came before or after the reading. As the years wore on, the little book became more and more fragile. I can recall one year my sister carrying the book on a fancy pillow, partly in mock ceremony and partly in reverence, I’m sure.
My mother worked for a large company with numerous resources available to her, and she made a good quality photo copy of the book. Granted, it was black & white. Color copies were not around until 1990. We were each given a photo copy to color and I remember it being tedious work, because of course, I was a perfectionist and I wanted it to look as close to the original as possible.
Now the book has found its way to my home, and though I won’t be using the original, I plan to read the real story of Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer to Melody on Christmas Eve. I made high quality scans of the book, and I will have to put it away in archival quality storage. The old paper is terribly yellowed, brown in some respects, and the pictures of facing pages have created ghost-images of themselves on their opposite page from the high acid in the inks used way back when.
Since it will be a long time before this book finds a new family home, I took the liberty of sending a copy on to the Hall family, our closest friends. Burke and Cassidy are just the right age to begin enjoying the story of Rudolph, and I hope they find a tradition in there for their family too.
Happy 70th birthday, Rudolph. You are still bringing Christmas joy to every girl and boy!