Christmas memories

Routine meetings and business are set aside at this time of year, as the hectic days of Christmas and New Year’s become of prime importance. Our memories come alive, as we recall Christmases past. We share with readers some of the memories of our Windham neighbors, and hope you enjoy them.

From Liz and Clarence Wisecup: “Lots of our Christmas days have been fun and special. I can tell you that this one will be at the top of the list. Our son, as you know, has been in Afghanistan. He was due home to California on Jan. 5th, 2010. His wife is due to come here tomorrow, the 18th. We got a call from her at two minutes past 1 a.m. (my birthday) today (the 17th) to say that Mike had called from Baltimore, Md., to say that he was there and on his way home to California. He will work on getting a flight to Maine for Christmas. What a great gift for your birthday to know that your son is back safe in the good ole U.S.A.!!!! And the best gift for Christmas is not the presents under the tree but the gift that our family will be together, and laugh, and have fun, share our love, and give deep thanks for this blessed gift.”

Lloyd (Buster) Gilman, whose father was town clerk for decades, recalls:

“When I was a small boy growing up, Christmas was a special time in my life. We lived down in Newhall on Dupont’s land and nobody cared if we went down back in the woods and cut a Christmas tree. That was one of my favorite things to do at Christmas time. And of course I had to hunt for the most perfect tree I could find and cut it and drag it up to the house. Usually when I got it up in the door yard, the tree was a lot taller than it needed to be so we had to cut it down to fit in the house and we had 10-foot ceilings in the house. After it was up and decorated, I used to like to sit behind it in my little rocking chair and look out through the branches.”

Donald and Joanne Vance will create their own new memories this year, as they celebrate Christmas. Joanne says their two great-grandsons are now old enough to open presents – something anticipated by the great-grandparents. Joanne feels they are a special blessing, at this blessed time.

Tom Nash remembers: “As a child it was slipping out of our rooms bright and early with my brother and sister dressed in our footsie pj’s, checking on the empty plate of food and glass of milk and staring in wonderment at our stockings and the beautiful real tree (that we had cut down on our own property) decorated with popcorn and cranberry strands, red and green paper garlands and lots and lots of silver tinsel! But my favorite Christmas memory is always seeing the exuberant expression – laced with joy, sincerity and innocence – on my three daughters’ faces when they see their stockings and the tree for the first time on Christmas morning.”

Rita Libby Bernier, from the town clerk’s office wrote: “I remember when there were just three of us kids left home and one of my sisters came home from Massachusetts where she had been working. She had these new coats for my sister and I. It was my first new coat, and I was a teenager. I got more than one present that year, and I thought we were so rich that it wasn’t funny. I was from a family of eight kids and didn’t know that we were classified as poor folk. We usually got one present and some fruit and a candy cane. Getting a big box under the tree was very exciting and believe it or not, this is the only sister that I have left out of six girls. Guess it’s time to really be thankful, right?”

Cindy Nelson-Cash says: “Our holiday traditions at times have carried us through

difficult times. Growing up when there was little money for gifts, our

unchanging traditions diverted our attention from what we didn’t have to what we

did have. Christmas Eve at Gram’s house, the food, cousins, aunts, uncles, the

laughter, the huge tree, the bubble lights, the spirit of it all. And all I wanted

was a Lolly Locket. I got the Lolly Locket and to this day I still have it and

the sweet memories of Christmas Eve past, at Gram’s house. With the promise of

the New Year beckoning I wish everyone sweet memories of the joy of seasons


My own favorite and poignant memory goes back to 1968. My son was 1 month old, my husband was working in a hospital 50 miles away and I was living thousands of miles from my hometown of Windham and extremely homesick. A large box from my parents was delivered and inside my mom had packed some of the old scratched-up glass ornaments that had been on our tree back home since I was a child. How they managed not to break, I’ll never know. Also in the box was a Maine pine rocking cradle my father had made and instructions on assembling it. Needless to say, Christmas was very special that year.

Thank you

Madeline Roberts, who runs the Food Pantry, sends a big thank you to the community for “the overwhelming response in our plea for gift cards to help our teens with Christmas. From area businesses, organizations, clubs and private citizens the support provided was phenomenal. On behalf of the pantry and the many clients helped a very sincere and heartfelt thank you. Through your support we were able to provide gifts and gift cards to 312 Windham children from 118 families,” she said.

Free sand for residents

If your driveway and walks are covered with ice, remember there is free, salted sand available at Windham Public Works. Residents may get two five-gallon pails of sand at a time at no charge, according to Edra Long at the town garage. Bring your own containers. The sand is salted and it’s on the right-hand side as you drive down into the public works site and is available during open hours. When you get your sand, remember your elderly neighbors who may not be able to get out or even lift a pail of sand. Perhaps you could help them, too.

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