It is amazing to me that this is our final issue of Her Voice for 2016. My Mom always told me that as she got older the years seemed to go faster and I now know she was right. 2016 was a milestone year for me and many of my classmates of the Class of 1974! We hit the big 6-0.

One of the other comments my Mom made to me years ago was, “Michele, I looked in the mirror this morning and thought, who is that old woman?” I now know how she feels there too. It’s just bizarre to me that I truly don’t feel any older (except for the normal aches & pains) and yet the years have passed.

One of the stories in this issue is by our very own Brandi Bue. Brandi spent some time at The Center visiting with folks there about some of their memories of Christmas’ past. After reading that it brought to mind some of my own memories of Christmas’ past which I’ve decided to share.

In looking back I have many great memories of holidays past and many of them weren’t necessarily about the gifts I received as my parents never had a lot of money and even the smallest things I know now were a sacrifice they made for us.

Christmas Eve we all would go to church and usually it was a candlelight service with much singing and a beautiful message. Those moments were always special to me as we went as a family. Also our little church always had a brown paper bag filled with an apple or orange and peanuts in the shell for each child as they were leaving the service. Today that doesn’t sound like much but to us it was a treasured gift each year.

When we got home we’d usually have Christmas goodies and hot chocolate and then go to bed early in the homes that Santa would come while we were sleeping. He always did too. Sometimes it was a new pair of shoes, or a little doll or maybe even a new pair of pajamas. Christmas mornings were always a joy.

Growing up in Rock Rapids, our neighbors were the Huisman’s. My folks had five girls and the Huisman’s had three girls. Their youngest, Jeri, and I were the best of friends. Her parents having moved next door when Jeri and I were one and a half years old.

I will always remember the year Jeri and I decided we were both going to ask Santa for new bicycles.

We knew it was a stretch but we both had great expectations. I asked for a purple bike with a banana seat and Jeri asked for a different color but definitely with a banana seat too.

That Christmas, the Christmas of 1965, Jeri and I both got our wish. As you can see by the picture my bike was indeed purple (which I asked for because our school colors were purple and gold),

and it had the grandly popular banana seat. As you can imagine for this girl, it was an amazing morning.

After the morning festivities were over I threw my winter coat over my pajamas and took my bike outside and rode it up and down the front sidewalk in the snow. I hadn’t been out there ten minutes when Jeri came out and joined me on her new bike. Needless to say the smiles on our faces couldn’t have been any bigger!

The other picture I’m sharing is me with Santa. I think I was about six years old in this picture and apparently I was a little intimidated by the man by the look on my face. I’m thinking it’s either intimated or maybe just not impressed? Lol! Knowing me it could go either way.

Well, enough of the traveling down memory lane. I leave you with best wishes for a wonderful Thanksgiving and a blessed Christmas.