It was 1984. It was our first Christmas together as a married couple. When we got married in August of that year, I had just finished my undergraduate degree in speech communications. My plan was to stay in Lubbock and pursue graduate level work, but at the last minute I withdrew from the program to which I had been accepted. Being with my new bride at that point was more important than studying around the clock.
I found a job as a counter salesman at Lubbock Bearing Service. It was a perfect fit for me at the time. Go to work at 7:00 a.m. and get home before 6:00 p.m. We lived in a dump. It was a duplex that was heated with a tiny built in floor heater and cooled with a swamp cooler installed in the bedroom window. There was a huge bathtub, but no shower. The kitchen had a 1950’s vintage gas stove. We paid a whopping $200 a month for rent.
As Christmas drew near, we knew we had to find a tree. But we were of course very limited on cash. Miraculously TG&Y had a Christmas tree on sale for $7.00. We called it our “Charlie Brown” tree. We were so proud of our purchase that evening! We of course decorated it flawlessly. I even put the ornament I had made in the 3rd grade out of construction paper and elbow noodles with paint and glitter of course. (Elmer’s Glue holds up so well….)
It has been 26 years since our first Christmas at the duplex over on 36th street in Lubbock. We lived in several homes since then. Last year we bought a new tree at Walmart during a January clearance sale. I think it is the second one that we have purchased since the Charlie Brown special. The new tree is beautiful. It came with preinstalled lights and everything.
I am looking forward to gathering around that symbol of love and tradition to exchange gifts with that same sweet girl that I bought the $7.00 with in 1984. Little did we know that first year that we would eventually have three boys to join us in waiting for Santa Clause to put those gifts under a tree?
I feel very fortunate today to be home with my family, but I am feeling a little homesick too for TG&Y and a dumpy duplex on 36th street…