With each passing day, the Christmas deadline grew closer – though Ina hated to think of Christmas that way. Still, the cards and letters needed to be finished and the boxes packed and sent on their way. She wanted to do some sewing before Christmas and was struggling to find the time. She had pressed Jack into writing the letters to accompany the pictures of the twins that they were sharing with their children and also extended family. Jack was equal to the task and he had done it well, though he didn’t like to write and was now beginning to complain.
Out came the wrapping supplies from the hiding place under the stairs. Myrtle’s box was next. She had long desired an atlas, and Ina had the good fortune to come by one when a family sold out and moved. And, of course, she wrapped the lady doll that would muffle her clock at night. Ina had made the doll a full old-fashioned skirt of velvet, which she lined and padded with cotton. She hoped it would fit. She also made Myrtle a pretty quilt end and a face cloth much as she likes and put in a box of popcorn that she and Jack had “sugared” last night.
Jack had sat by as Ina wrapped the packages, lending her his index finger now and again to help her tie the string. [Scotch tape was invented in the ‘30s, but I rather think Ina didn’t have any. She relied on string – and maybe sometimes she used decorative stickers.]
Myrtle was now 40, a single woman. It was hard for a woman to earn her own way and the world, to be without a family of her own. Ina wished she could come home for Christmas, but Myrtle said she couldn’t afford the trip. She had assured Ina that she would be with friends and enjoy the holiday, but in her heart, Ina wasn’t so sure. (So often the way it is with mothers.)
The box was packed, tied with string, and Jack took it and such cards as she had finished out to the mailbox.
[We were relieved to learn today that the problem with our water was not at the pump but the storage tank. A pipe had frozen but has now been replaced, and we were instructed on how to keep it from happening again. You’d think we could better protect ourselves – and I guess we can – but it seems to be a matter of “live and learn.”] KW