Merry, Happy, Joyous Everything

I’m getting ready to get on a bus to the airport, where I’ll board a plane for the East Coast, where I’ll rent a car to drive to my brother’s place for the holidays. I haven’t had any time to think about Christmas because I had to finish editing a manuscript before leaving, which meant locking myself in the den for the past ten days and waking up this morning thinking it’s Wednesday because I’d lost track of time. If I could grow facial hair, I’d probably have a beard down to my navel right now.

So I’m ill-prepared for the holidays, but to get in the spirit, I thought I’d share one of my favorite Christmas memories before I head out.

When I was a kid, I was a big fan of The Bionic Woman TV show. Jaime Sommers, as played by Lindsay Wagner, was an idol to me, a smart, strong woman who couldn’t be messed with, who fought fembots and won (this last part was very important).

December 1976 or ’77, for my family’s second or third Christmas in America, my mother took us kids to the mall, said we could pick out our own presents as long as we stayed under ten dollars per person. (Our family is large, we were on a budget, and we’d stopped believing in Santa years earlier.)

Once out of the station wagon, I ran all the way to Kay-Bee Toys, muttering, “Oh please, oh please, oh please” hoping the Bionic Woman doll was in my price range. I squeezed between shoppers to get to the right shelf, where Jaime was waiting to—perhaps—be taken home by me. I stood on tiptoes to bring down the package, holding my breath as I looked at the price tag…$9.99!

I clutched my present and jumped up and down; my face almost cracked from smiling. If there had been room in the store, I might’ve done a cartwheel. I dug out my own change, from my allowance for doing chores around the house, to pay for the tax.

I cherished that doll, and created lots of adventures for Jaime to go on. I played with her until her hair and limbs started falling out. Then came a flood in the basement and lots of treasured childhood things were lost.

But the tale doesn’t end there. Several years ago, my dear friend Christian, who knows this story, gave me a Christmas gift. I opened it and found an original Bionic Woman doll inside (pictured). He’d trolled eBay, determined to find a replacement for me. I told him she may have cost only ten bucks originally, but what he did for me was priceless.

Jaime now sits prominently on my mantel and amuses my visitors, who wonder if she’s out of place up there among candles and wedding pictures and flowers. I say no. She’s exactly where she should be.

Happy holidays to you. I hope you’ll create memories to cherish for many years to come. Is there a favorite recollection you’d like to share in the comments?

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6 Comments

  • Reply
    Elizabeth
    December 24, 2012 at 11:39 am

    That’s a great story, and Christian sounds like an awesome friend. A very Merry Christmas to you and yours! 🙂

  • Reply
    EIREGO
    December 24, 2012 at 12:12 pm

    You really own the N in PCN!

    Growing up I had many brothers to contend with so I learned at an early age not to get attached to dolls or “action figures”. Any such behavior opened us up for hostage negotiation and intense ridicule.

    HAPPY HOLIDAYS!!

  • Reply
    Naomi Johnson
    December 24, 2012 at 2:59 pm

    My favorite Christmas memory is of Christmas, 2006. For the first time since my elder brother left home (1965), the five of us kids plus my Mom (Dad having passed in 1995) had Christmas together at the same time and place. No fussing or feuding or old family grudges sprang up. It really was what we all want Christmas to be: all love and laughter. We’ve all wanted a repeat ever since but we haven’t been able to make it happen.

  • Reply
    Shell Sherree
    December 26, 2012 at 6:15 pm

    We all need a Christian in our lives. And I love that his gift takes pride of place on your mantel. A symbol of a lovely childhood memory AND a great friend. I hope you and your loved ones had a beautiful Christmas, PCN. Here’s to a cheery and bright New Year.

  • Reply
    stacybuckeye
    December 28, 2012 at 10:32 pm

    Your friend Christian is a keeper! I hope your east coast Christmas was good to you 🙂

  • Reply
    Donna
    December 31, 2012 at 9:12 pm

    I love your Christmas memory! Could just imagine you in that toy store. And what a lovely thing for Christian to do! Our Christmases usually had family friction but Mom always managed to make the day brighter.

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