A Frosty Morn Near Christmas

Dear Reader:

We will not have a snowy Christmas  this year… but yesterday morning came pretty close to looking like one. I opened my front door around 8:00 a.m. to check and see if ‘Little Big Red’ (the geranium) had come through the chilly night okay…and it had…in fact the bloom was intact and seemingly smiling good morning at me. * Thanks for your prayers, good wishes, and hopes!

It really was winter weather for the lowcountry yesterday and today will be another chilly one! It is  brisk outside and does get us more readily in the Christmas spirit… when it feels more like an Currier and Ives Christmas scene. (‘Delivering Gifts’)

Out of idle curiosity I looked up Currier and Ives and was fascinated reading about their ultimate partnership- one that would change how news and pictures  emerged in newspapers, magazines, and later popular prints. As I read about Currier’s early tragic childhood ..I was reminded once again that “Necessity is the Mother of Invention” and how, with God’s help, we land in “just the right place at the right time.”

Nathaniel Currier (1813–88) was born in Roxbury, Massachusetts on March 27, 1813, the second of four children. His parents Nathaniel and Hannah Currier were distant cousins who lived a humble and spartan life. Tragedy struck when Nathaniel was eight years old, when his father unexpectedly died, leaving Nathaniel and his eleven-year-old brother Lorenzo to provide for the family: six-year-old sister Elizabeth and two-year-old brother Charles, as well as their mother.

Nathaniel’s difficult childhood turned around when he was apprenticed to a Boston lithography shop at 15.  Similar to the garment shops at the time…Female immigrants were hired to add color to the black and white lithographs.

Prints were hand-colored by a dozen or more women, often immigrants from Germany, with an art background. They worked in assembly-line fashion, one color to a worker, and  were paid $6 for every 100 colored prints. The favored colors were clear and simple, and the drawing was bold and direct.

Soon colored lithographs were put in special edition newspapers and it tripled newspaper consumption…readers liked life-like drawings accompanying big news. The rest is history as the popularity of Currier and his business partner Ives discovered when the Christmas season brought a demand for nostalgic paintings of this popular holiday… based on earlier childhood memories.

No matter where we live most children still want a white Christmas …along with the stockings, Santa Claus, big family meal, surprises, etc. as seen in books, television, movies and other mass media?

I think that is why I love putting so many pictures and photos in my blog posts…it is simply comforting and familiar.

Yesterday Honey stopped by to drop off the  holiday items we will exchange today with our annual traditional get-together. Tomorrow there will be lots of pictures of our ‘shared’ gifts, greenery, and added  decorations. It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas!

While Honey was here Donna dropped by and we had the best time catching up…Donna had brought me a Clemson “All In” wooden SC ornament for me to hang on the tree…and get ready for the big game on the 28th against Ohio State. Go Tigers!

It is hard to believe the calendar today says December 20…it is ‘seriously’ getting close to Christmas…I must finish my Christmas Eve story with a great connector to its finale.

At the mailbox yesterday…another surprise! I got my gift I had been waiting on to arrive…Joan Turner’s original Christmas card!

It is precious! Last year the card was a little sad since Lucy, the mother, died…but this year…it appears that the three “children” understand that there are many paths leading them back to their mother, lit with Christmas lights to show them the way… back to where it all began…the manger. Love it Joan! 🙂

Lachlan looks like he just saw Santa Claus and Rudolph fly by! And Ady is the cutest Russian immigrant to go through Ellis Island.

About Becky Dingle

I was born a Tarheel but ended up a Sandlapper. My grandparents were cotton farmers in Laurens, South Carolina and it was in my grandmother’s house that my love of storytelling began beside an old Franklin stove. When I graduated from Laurens High School, I attended Erskine College (Due West of what?) and would later get my Masters Degree in Education/Social Studies from Charleston Southern. I am presently an adjunct professor/clinical supervisor at CSU and have also taught at the College of Charleston. For 28 years I taught Social Studies through storytelling. My philosophy matched Rudyard Kipling’s quote: “If history were taught in the form of stories, it would never be forgotten.” Today I still spread this message through workshops and presentations throughout the state. The secret of success in teaching social studies is always in the story. I want to keep learning and being surprised by life…it is the greatest teacher. Like Kermit said, “When you’re green you grow, when you’re ripe you rot.”
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