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The Christmas Closet
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Cindi    Posted 11-28-2004 at 06:53:55       [Reply]  [No Email]
I hope you all know that I neither expect you to read these stories nor to comment on them. So don't feel bad about not commenting, you're not going to hurt my feelings. I don't always feel like reading long posts either. So, they're here for the ones who want to read them and those who don't, no offense taken.

It was mid-December of 1971 when my sister Judy came to me with stunning news. Being only one year younger than me, we tended to think alike and basically were mere steps away from being able to read each other's minds. We communicated with looks and when it was necessary to use words, those words were few and far between.

"Guess what I found." She whispered, eyes sparkling with mischief.

I only had to look at her to know that she had found the hiding place for Christmas presents that had yet to be wrapped. I got a knot in my stomach. I knew I did not have the control to not take advantage of this information, and even though there was still time to tell her that I didn't want to know where this secret cache was, what came out was...

"We'll have to wait 'til mom's not here."

She nodded briskly. Mom obliged us less than an hour later by announcing that she had to run to the grocery store. Judy and I sat at the end of the couch, thighs touching, pretending to be engrossed in Gilligan's Island while Mom got ready to leave.

"Do you girls want to go with me?" She asked, pausing in the doorway, her purse and keys in hand.

"No!" We said in unison. And then. "There's an after-school special coming on that we want to see." I explained quickly. Mom had that look about her that said that she knew something was up, but didn't know what it was. She gave us one last lingering look and then she left.

We waited until the car cleared the garage and then we were off; down the hall to our parent's room. The sanctum-sanctorium. The Holy Land. The Fort Knox of 2635 Florence Street. Crossing the threshold into that room without permission was tantamount to sneaking into Area 51, also known as Groom Lake, which is a secret military facility about 90 miles north of Las Vegas where it is reported that alien artifacts are stored and guarded. I expected at any moment for alarms and whistles to go off, armed men to come rushing in from all directions, and arrest us and take us away to prison. Needless to say, my heart was in my throat. I don't think either one of us could have pulled off this daring breach of security on our own, but by working as a team, we girded each other and managed to make our way across the linoleum floor to the closet.

"Open it." I said.

"Nu uh! You open it." Her eyes were popped out so far that I marveled that they didn't simply fall out on the floor.

I reached for the knob.

"What if she forgets something and comes back?" Judy asked suddenly. I paused in mid-reach. Up to this point, we could have come up with some kind of explanation for being in Mom's room, but if we were caught with the closet door open, it would be over. I wondered briefly what the punishment would be for 'Christmas present peeking', and shuddered.

Before I had a chance to reconsider our actions, Judy grabbed the knob and the door swung open. She was like that, Judy was. Never knew what she was capable of until she did it. I didn't know whether to laugh or cry.

As soft evening light spilled into the closet, a veritable treasure trove of bags and boxes and rolls of unopened wrapping paper were exposed.

"Wow..." I breathed.

"Told ya!" Judy giggled.

"How...?" I began.

"I dropped a quarter and it rolled under the door. I had to open it to get...."

"Where was Mom?"

"In the garage doing laundry."

We were both shaking like leafs, but that didn't stop us from poking and peeking and prodding to our little heart's content. We found the box that contained a new pair of western boots for Daddy. We found the box that contained a new Mrs. Beasley doll for little Dianne. We found the box that contained a new model car set for my brother Larry. It was obvious who many of the gifts we found were for. But not all of them. We didn't know who the new record player was for. We didn't know who the bath salts or the new sweater, doll house, slippers, robe, "Operation" game, or the roller skates were for, and the list went on and on. Suddenly the glaring flaw in our daring plan was revealed to both of us. We knew what was being given, but we didn't know who it was being given to!

We hastily rearranged everything the way we'd found it and beat a hasty retreat. The subject of the pilfered loot did not come up again until Christmas Eve when it was clear that both of us had sorted through the gifts in our minds, and decided what we expected would go to whom. Judy piled into my bed at around ten p.m., as she was known to do when she had something on her mind, and whispered...

"The doll house has to be for me!"

"Yes! I'm the one who loves music, so the record player has to be for me. And the skates are for me too. It's the nightie that's for you, and the sweater and the slippers and the bath stuff. You're the girly one, I'm the Tom boy".

We discussed all the presents and eventually worked it all out in our sneaky little minds to suit us. All things considered, we thought we had it all sorted out, based on our personalities and the way Mom's mind worked.

We never really figured out if Mom was actually on to us, or if we were just that stupid, because Christmas morning, things couldn't have worked out more backwards. I sat and watched with a sinking feeling as Judy opened the new record player. She also got the skates, leaving me with bath salts, doll house and a frilly sweater and fluffy slippers and robe. By the way mom's left eyebrow was cocked while she sipped her coffee, I suspect that she put two and two together and figured out that we had snooped, and being Mom, this was her way of putting us in our place.

A lot of Christmases came and went after that one and I can honestly say that I was never again tempted to raid the 'present' closet. Being that we were raised to share, I got to use the roller skates and Judy just about took over the doll house, which I imagined was the way it was meant to be to begin with, but we didn't own these things, which basically set us up for a year of being forced to get along as we each had to ask the permission of the other in order to use them. So our little foray into the forbidden had cost us in more ways than one and Mom came out on top, as usual. Her consolation prize? A peaceful year with two girls who got along terrifically well.

KellyGa    Posted 11-30-2004 at 07:15:37       [Reply]  [No Email]
A bit late getting on here an catching up, hope Ididnt miss any more! My mama tells of her doing that one time, and she said it took all the mystery and fun out of getting the stuff, so she never went looking again. I must confess I did it once too. I hope she never knew I peeked, she would be disappointed. Great story, as usual, thanks. :)

George in TX    Posted 11-28-2004 at 16:03:58       [Reply]  [No Email]
Cindi I read this, another, of your great stories this morning but didn't have time to respond then. I'd like to say what others have said. How could I NOT read one of your stories? That's a must-do as far as I'm concerned.

I once heard that of the people who complain about service or something at stores or restaurants, etc. are only 10% of the people who are dissatisfied with something. I'll bet that's the same with people reading your stories. Wanna bet that of the people who respond to your stories about 10 more read them and don't respond? I sure hope that's the case.

I've never seen any negative response to your stories. Well there was Fawteen with an editorial comment I guess. But anyone who runs around in a purple dress can't be taken seriously anyway. (grin)

Now folks before you start throwing rocks let me tell you that I met Fawteen a long time ago on another board. I have the utmost respect for the man and this is just a gentle "dig in the ribs."

Great story Cindi.

Cindi    Posted 11-28-2004 at 16:14:34       [Reply]  [No Email]
Oh yeah, Fawteen is priceless, no doubt. I still have that image of him in a dress indelibly etched into my mind. I don't think anything will get it out. Trust me....I've tried (smile)

And he uses neat words too.

"Flang" - Orig : Fawteen - The past tense of fling; to fling with force; example: "I flang that rake down and took off running!" (paraphrased).

I have been trying for two years to work that into a story.

Thanks George. For both the nice words...and the memory.

jfky    Posted 11-28-2004 at 16:03:21       [Reply]  [No Email]
great story-but bah humbug

Cindi    Posted 11-28-2004 at 16:09:24       [Reply]  [No Email]
Whut? A'right listen here!

I think someone needs a fruitcake. (grin)


jfky    Posted 11-28-2004 at 16:44:49       [Reply]  [No Email]
ha ha ha Fruitcake-now listen here I worked at UPS for almost 3 years and if there was one christmas item we hated it was the dreaded fruitcake. We employees always believed that the total amount of fruitcakes produced was all baked in one year and they were just recyled among people for year and years-I will just take a concrete block-thanks for the humor

Cindi    Posted 11-29-2004 at 03:34:01       [Reply]  [No Email]
"the total amount of fruitcakes produced was all baked in one year and they were just recyled among people for year and years-"

I beleive this to be true.

Alias    Posted 11-28-2004 at 12:01:20       [Reply]  [No Email]
Hi Cindi, My computer has been going in and out like a bunch of kids at a family get-to-gether.
right now, it's coorporating but that's subject to change any minute. Happily, I got to read your story. And, even tho I don't always respond, I look forward to reading every thing you post. The fact is, I often scroll through and single out your post first. So, you keep writing them, and, I'll keep reading them.


Cindi    Posted 11-28-2004 at 15:28:34       [Reply]  [No Email]
Awww....thanks gfp. That was nice.

Chas in Me    Posted 11-28-2004 at 11:08:25       [Reply]  [No Email]
Signed off early last evening and late today. When I scrolled down to look at the list of posts, I saw one from Cindi with lots of answers and knew it would be a story. Saved it til last just like dessert.
Thanks for a good story.
Chas, still trying to find the present closet, up here in Maine.

Cindi    Posted 11-28-2004 at 11:32:49       [Reply]  [No Email]
You better stop looking lest you wind up with a frilly nightie or fuzzy slippers. Thanks Chas.

SY    Posted 11-28-2004 at 10:41:06       [Reply]  [No Email]
Another great story Cindi. I can relate to most of your stories. I've saved em all.

Cindi    Posted 11-28-2004 at 11:33:53       [Reply]  [No Email]
Good Lord Sy! I hope you're not printing them, that would be a fire hazard by now (grin). Thank you.

Lynn    Posted 11-28-2004 at 16:27:35       [Reply]  [Send Email]
Cindi I hope that you will have them printed so we can pay to get them all, and you can get paid for the talent you have. I can't wait for each new story. Go for it.

Cindi    Posted 11-29-2004 at 03:37:26       [Reply]  [No Email]
Thank you Lynn, I keep sending out the manuscripts. I could always do a Publish America or something but I'm not going to do that.

RichZ    Posted 11-28-2004 at 10:16:56       [Reply]  [Send Email]
Good Lord, Cindi!!! Not read one of your stories!!!! I doubt that there is ANY regular on ANY of the forums that you frequent that doesn't look forward to your stories!!! I know that if I don't see one of your stories here or on CBN, I'm disappointed!!! I'd read phonebook listings if you wrote them, because I know, that somehow, you'd make them as irresistable as your stories always are!!!

I've said this to you many times, you just don't realize how talented you are!!!!!

Cindi    Posted 11-28-2004 at 11:37:08       [Reply]  [No Email]
Rich, you do go on. (blush) I'm not so sure about the phone book, but I may give that a try.(smile)

Adair, Louise
Adale, Rusty
Adams, John
Adanaka, Lou

Nah, I just can't find a theme (grin)

Thanks Rich.

DD    Posted 11-28-2004 at 09:31:15       [Reply]  [No Email]
Not read one of your stories? Are you nuts woman? *giggle* I think this board is Blessed with lots of good storytellers : ) Yep, I admit it, me and my sisters peeked at our gifts too. They were always hidden in Dads closet because his room was Off Limits because that's where all his guns were.

Cindi    Posted 11-28-2004 at 11:38:59       [Reply]  [No Email]
Yes, you're right, there are lots of good story tellers here.

Poking around in the armory? You were a brave little girl.

Thanks DD

Patria    Posted 11-28-2004 at 09:05:36       [Reply]  [No Email]
Been there..:-)
You brought some good memories, Cindi, Thanks!!

ps: I thought I had reply to this one..maybe posted it in another thread?..let me go and check in your NYC news article.LOL

Cindi    Posted 11-28-2004 at 11:40:39       [Reply]  [No Email]
Here, there, no matter.

How come it seems the older one gets, the more vivid the early memories are? Especially holiday memories.

James(Ga)    Posted 11-28-2004 at 08:20:11       [Reply]  [No Email]

Good story as always Cindi.How can we not read one of yours.I look for one dailey. I love them and keep them coming. James

Cindi    Posted 11-28-2004 at 08:29:04       [Reply]  [No Email]
I'm glad James, and I will do my best.

Steve from TN    Posted 11-28-2004 at 07:13:56       [Reply]  [No Email]
Mamas are smarter than they look. Good story.

Cindi    Posted 11-28-2004 at 07:16:53       [Reply]  [No Email]
I just imagine we left a trail a mile wide. We probably didn't get everything back where it was when we started.

Thanks Steve.

oslo in nc    Posted 11-28-2004 at 07:25:59       [Reply]  [No Email]

Now that the story is out and you have fessed up, you're grounded. he he

Cindi    Posted 11-28-2004 at 07:37:31       [Reply]  [No Email] want to know a little secret? If my mom was still alive I wouldn't dare tell this story. She could hold a grudge like nobody else in the whole wide world, and she would ground me. Even now. (grin)

JB    Posted 11-28-2004 at 07:59:01       [Reply]  [No Email]
That was gonna be my question~~ Did you ever tell mom? ~~ But you said you didn't, and I understand that. There are things I kept from my parents forever, not that the 'sins' were so bad, but I just hated to disappoint mom and dad, regardless of time passed. Good story, and perfect time to tell it.

Cindi    Posted 11-28-2004 at 08:30:29       [Reply]  [No Email]
I know what you mean JB. The disappointment was the worst. Thanks.

Fawteen    Posted 11-28-2004 at 07:24:28       [Reply]  [No Email]
Good story. We've probabaly ALL done that, but your Mom had a more subtle way of pointing out the error of your ways than mine would have...

A minor editorial comment if I may. I think you'll find that the proper term is "sanctum sanctorum".

Fawteen - Shoot    Posted 11-28-2004 at 07:25:22       [Reply]  [No Email]
Editorial comments lose some of their fizz when the commenter can't type. Make that "probably"...

Cindi    Posted 11-28-2004 at 07:38:50       [Reply]  [No Email]
Dang. I knew I shoulda looked that up. (smile) the spell checker let me get away with it, so I figured I was safe.

seahag    Posted 11-28-2004 at 08:20:56       [Reply]  [No Email]
i did the same thing when I was 14 Cindi, felt guilt like you would not believe...I fessed up to it at the age of 35, took 21 years to do it but I did LOL.

LoriA    Posted 11-28-2004 at 08:33:39       [Reply]  [No Email]
I love your story, as usual. I think we've all done that at some time or another. My Mom bought me 10 books one year for Christmas. I had them all read by the beginning of December. Christmas is a magical time and full of wonderful surprises. When you already know what the surprise is, it takes away the magic.

Cindi    Posted 11-28-2004 at 08:38:01       [Reply]  [No Email]
It sure does. I admit that one year I peeked at a present Fred got for me. It was an accident (kinda). I found the bag under the bed and thought it was something I had put under there and forgotten about. It was the best present he ever got me. It was a scanner. I thought I would die before Christmas got there.

As luck would have it, he's a bigger kid than I am and he couldn't wait until Christmas until he gave it to me. He knew that he had hit the nail on the head with this gift, and he wanted the brownie points that came with it (grin) I got it a full two weeks before Christmas but he had another small surprise gift under the tree.

Cindi    Posted 11-28-2004 at 08:32:10       [Reply]  [No Email]
I confessed something to my mom at twenty-four. Admitted to a lie. She took it every bit as hard as she would have had I told the lie the day before. I had a very real moment of terror where I thought she was going to whup me. (smile)

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