Yesterday's Magazette

10 – My First Oklahoma Christmas

My First Oklahoma

Christmas

By Shelley Anne Richter

It was 1960 when we moved to Oklahoma into a middle-class neighborhood, and I was filled with a sense of loss over leaving our home in Pennsylvania. Left behind were the captivating winters and giant snowdrifts that I struggled to get my little brother; Chuckie, up and over, when we were hurrying to catch the school bus. Gone, too, were the maple and elm trees that dotted the landscape of our farm.

I knew Oklahoma would take some time getting useYM:OKXmasd to because the children spoke with a “twang” and had some unusual customs. For instance, one neighbor boy came over and introduced himself as Beck. Another boy’s name was Fitzpatrick. I soon discovered that everybody called themselves by their last name.

Mother enrolled Chuckie and me in Waite Phillips Elementary.

It was no secret to Chuckie that I wanted to be a writer, and he often swiped a pencil or two from his classmates so I could write my stories. I told him I didn’t think he should be stealing. But he reassured me that he wasn’t stealing, he was just “borrowing” them from kids who didn’t want them anyway.

Our first Christmas in Oklahoma I coveted a TG&Y typewriter; Chuckie wanted a red bike from OTASCO and Debbie, my younger sister, longed for a Betty Crocker oven she had seen in an S&H Green Stamp Catalog.

You can’t imagine the surprise on our faces when we found each gift we asked for, wrapped with loving care, under a pink-flocked Christmas tree. I thought to myself, maybe Oklahoma isn’t so bad after all.

As the months turned into years, I realized my dream of becoming a writer; thanks, in part to the warm-hearted memories spent hammering out my manuscripts on a $12.00 typewriter, and of Chuckie, who went out on a limb for me when he saw to it that I was never without a big blue pencil and a bubble gum-pink eraser.

Vol. 36 No. 4 – Yesterday’s Magazette – Winter – 2009-2010

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