Ghost of Christmas past sparks back memories of my sister Debbie


Ghost of Christmas past sparks back memories of my sister Debbie
Me and my 2 sisters a Christmas long ago.

Ghost of Christmas past sparks back memories of my sister Debbie

Ghost of Christmas past sparks back memories of my sister Debbie
My sister as a teenager

Did you ever have a flashback or virtual type memory come out of nowhere?  This memory being so strong it sent you to your knees?  It was so vivid that you could actually smell the aromas and hear the audio sounds occurring in that moment?  It happened today while I was writing and sipping a cup of Gevalia coffee.  All of a sudden I was standing at the candy counter in Sears and Roebuck. I was 9 years old again. This is my story about how the Ghost of Christmas past sparks back memories of my sister Debbie.

The Nolan Family Circa 1971


It was Christmas time and this is my Christmas memory.

We were all there, right there in the moment. My whole family together with Christmas music blaring from the store speakers of Sears and Roebuck.  It was my father, my mother, my older sister Debbie, my younger sister Christine and my brother Bobby. We were Christmas shopping, at least my parents were.  This particular Sears and Roebucks was located in Bayshore, New York which is on Long Island. Not sure why I feel that is important, I just do.

Kicking off the Holiday Season

Right after Halloween every year, we would be handed the Sears Catalog, the Christmas Wishes Book.  We were told we could pick one item.  My mother would order the items out of the catalog and pick them up at the store.  When you have 4 children, you try NOT to spend a lot of time in stores. Sometimes you must store shop and this was one of those times. If we were good, our Dad told us he would treat us to candy or nuts from the Candy Department.  It always smelled so good over there.

I remember being told to take our little sister and go stand at the Candy Counter and our parents would be there in a few minutes.  Bobby was really little so they kept him with them.


When children did what they were told

We did what we were told.  Back then you could walk away from your parents without being kidnapped.  After all  who would want to kidnap a party of 3 kids, ages 10, 9 and 6?

What we didn’t know at the time was that our parents were picking up our Christmas presents and sneaking them out into the trunk of the car.  They were also picking up additional presents and they did that by one parent staying with us while the other ran off and shopped in a hurry.

Normal American Family

These Christmas time excursions happened in the early 1970’s.  We were a happy normal middle class American family.  You know the kind you have seen on TV shows.

Anyhow, I am getting off track here.  You see I was trying to draw the picture for you so you could see us standing there in front of the candy/nut counter in the Sears & Roebuck (now it’s just Sears) with our mouths watering trying to decide what we were going to pick because we were being good and Dad was going to buy us a treat.

We had our noses pressed up against the glass looking in on all the nuts and candy on the other side, our breath steaming up the glass.  

While in my transfixed flashback, I could actually hear my sister Debbie’s voice as she discussed the pros and cons of each different selection and how she finally decides on Pistachio nuts because they would last longer and she could not only eat the nuts but lick the salt off the shells.

How I Loved her

Oh my God, how I loved her. How I looked up to her.  I was in awe of how smart she was and how she weighed and measured situations and how she seemed to always know where she was going and how she was going to get there.  She was in a word “Awesome,” and she was my big sister who always protected me and took care of me when nobody else did.

When she was handed that paper bag with her pound of nuts in it, she put it right inside her winter jacket for safe keeping.  Sometime later that evening I saw her snacking on them while reading one of her Nancy Drew mystery books.

Heaven’s sweetest angel

She is gone now as she went to heaven to be with our father and our grandmother.  She is and continues to be my hero who fought cancer for near 12 years and finally said, “ENOUGH.”  She actually said that to me. “ENOUGH.”  I will never forget that.  She had had ENOUGH.

It is now 4 years that she has been gone and I am finding myself thinking about her a lot right now.  I felt her presence around me the first 3 months and then that feeling faded.  She has been back with me the last few days and today when I had that flash back, vivid memory or whatever someone might call it, she was smiling and all pink and happy.  She was excited about Christmas and she was part of a happy family.

House Calls

I think she knows we need her right now so she is making house calls.  Many believe you have to be receptive to these kinds of things for them to happen to you. I am receptive.

We discussed all this when she had made the decision to stop seeking treatment. She didn’t want to do anymore clinical trials but assured me she would be back.  She told me she would visit as a ladybug.  Wouldn’t you know it, little ladybug has visited several times.

Ghost of Christmas past sparks back memories of my sister Debbie
My sisters favorite when she was a kid

Thank you for the memory dear sister.  Thank you for the visit.  Did I say she picked pistachio nuts?  Oh yes, I did.  Pistachio nuts it is my dear sweet sister, Pistachio nuts it is.

Please enjoy my husband’s song, “The Ghost of Christmas Past.”  This is one of the reasons I fell in love with my husband.  I was swept away by his voice and his talent.  I hope you enjoyed the Ghost of Christmas past sparks back memories of my sister Debbie.  Love is meant to be shared.

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