My First Christmas
by Ethel (Hammond) Nielsen
© 2010

     No, I am not talking about the one spent in that Clarksburg new development area called East View! I am talking about my first Christmas in the far West, in a state called California, You know, the state that had that Gold rush back in 1850! Well, it was in a city called Modesto, located about twenty miles west of the Mother Lode Country.

     It is now sixty four years later and each Christmas we repeat the tradition learned that first Christmas in Modesto. Now, I can look back and see how blessed I was to have been totally “adopted” by my new Mother-in-Law. She was born in Denmark, was proud of her heritage, and accepted me like I was her own daughter.

     The year was 1946. The war had just ended. We were newly weds with no money, no house, no job, and no prospects. Jack’s mother gave us a bedroom, moving his brother (also just home from the war) to a couch in the living room.

     The Danish tradition is to eat Aebleskivers, similar to a pancake in a ball shape, before gathering around the tree for fun and presents. Aebleskivers are served with ham, jelly, sour cream, and apple sauce.

     That particular year, 1946, when we gathered around the tree, it was with grateful hearts----the war was over and family was back together again! We each had a Christmas stocking filled with mostly everyday items. The evening ended with singing and sharing of past memories.

     This year, 2010, Christmas Eve we will be serving Aebleskivers to our own family here in Irvine, California following the tradition learned in Modesto 64 years ago! Our lives have been blessed and we are grateful to have family nearby.


Return to  Main  Page
Return to  Archives  Page