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I'm an Army Brat - once an Army Brat, always an Army Brat - now 60. We lived in Fort Knox Kentucky. (then) West Germany, back to Ft Knox, back to Germany, back to Ft Knox, brief time in Georgia (Moultrie), back to Ft Knox, back to Germany - and lastly E=town and Radcliffe Ky (just outside of Ft Knox) before I ran off and joined the Navy to see the world.
I have lots of memories of Christmas throughout the years but the one distinctive of all the rest was when I was perhaps 4 or 5 - not sure which. I had gotten kicked out of Kindergarten School so I think this may have been before I was 5 (yes, I was that kind of kid).
Anyway, us kids were taken to see Santa Claus (might have been Kris Kringle), and one by one each of us got to spend time on Santa's lap and tell him what we wanted for Christmas, and get our picture took with Santa - we went in order of our age with my littlest sister who was still just a baby being 'held' by Santa for pictures, then my next youngest sister who was just a year younger than me telling Santa whatever it was she wanted and getting her picture took with Santa. Next up was me and I sat in his lap and told him I wanted a Big Blue Wagon to pull around. I was so pleased! Then my older brother got up in Santa's lap and told him he wanted a Big Blue Bicycle and got his picture taken...We were all so happy to have seen and sat on Santa's lap and to tell him what it was we each had wanted.
But my brother asking for a Big Blue Bicycle was getting to me.
I was wishing I had asked for a Big Blue Bicycle as well, instead of a Big Blue Wagon.. Oh how I'd wished I had asked for a bicycle! Any color would do - I never said anything out loud to my brother or Mom or Dad...I was just furious with myself for not thinking so big as to have asked for a bicycle. I remember it oh so bad, praying to Santa in my mind - bring me a bicycle - don't bring me a wagon - Oh Santa bring me a bicycle! Over and Over and Over all the way up to Christmas eve.
On Christmas morning we all woke up and went into the living room - there under the tree (actually off to the side) was my Big Blue Wagon, and next to it was a Big Blue Bicycle - in the wagon was a big doll that my sister had asked for and under the tree was shoe boxes full of assorted fruit and nuts and hard candy for each of us kids.
I was heart broken...
I was heart broken that Santa had not heard my 'prayers' - I put it off that perhaps he had been just too busy taking care of everyone else's request for presents that he didn't have time for prayer's just before Christmas. No one knew I was heart broken about getting that wagon instead of a Big Blue Bicycle. My sister thought it was great that her doll could 'ride' in it, so we played all day with my Big Blue Wagon and her doll. My parents never had a clue that my wishes had changed, and it's just as well. Over the next few days, and weeks, and months, and years - that Big Blue Wagon became it's own source of wondrous memories of pulling friends around, my brother towing me in the wagon while riding his bike. Of me and my Mom going to the commissary to get grocery's and carrying back the bags of food in my Big Blue Wagon. Of our family going to the movie house on base in Germany with us little ones being pulled along by my Dad in uniform to and from the movie house.
A few years later my brother 'out grew' that Big Blue Bike of his and passed it down to me - so eventually I had both the Big Blue Wagon and the Big Blue Bicycle and wore the both of them out - well wore myself out trying to wear them out - they held up pretty good - I got busted up quite a few times pushing things to the limit (kinda like Calvin and Hobbes). The bike didn't hold up to my punishing use but the wagon did.
In later years I remember us living in Georgia while my Dad was away in (South) Korea - and using the now faded and rusty Big Blue Wagon for hauling coke bottles to the corner store to turn them in for the 2 cent each deposit and buying ice-cold bottle cokes and Nabs, and nickel candy bars and moon pies on hot humid Georgia days with the money. That Big Blue Wagon and I were made for each other. I don;t really remember what happened to my wagon - I think my parents left it behind in Georgia when my Dad came back from Korea and we moved back to Fort Knox Kentucky - that would have been the mid 60's - 5th grade.
Mom and Dad have moved on and I never got to tell them this story, but every-every-every Christmas time I remember those times, and those days, and especially that Big Blue Wagon and the hidden joys it gave me.
I always thought I had bad years and good years, but after reading all the stories above (and some elsewhere) I've come to realize that all my years have really all been good years, and that I've never had a bad year of living. Thank you Mom and Dad for having me, and keeping me (and us kids) all those years.
Danny N (Alameda) - Havelock NC
(an Army Brat)