This year I spent a lot of time writing down family traditions and memories of Christmas. In 2003, I bought a Christmas Journal to record gifts, cards, recipes, and all of the trimmings related to Christmas. I didn’t use the book at all last year. And I still haven’t recorded any gifts from this year. The entire front of the section related to tradtions was completely blank. So I started asking questions.
I was surprised to find that most of the traditions that we still follow (Christmas Eve dinner with my mom’s family and Christmas breakfast with my dad’s) were based on the same traditions that they grew up with in their immediate families. We went to visit my grandmother at Brighton Gardens and she told us about the box that they would put out instead of a stocking. She typically received an apple, an orange and a piece of candy. One year she received a doll, which she shared with her younger sister Edna.
Then she started recounting the details of the Charlie Lawson murders and her memories of hearing the shots on Christmas morning when she was five years old. She had already told the story the night before at our house. My mom even got out the newspaper from the days after the events.
Despite my efforts to only include pleasant memories of Christmas in my journal, I ended up writing down quotes from Grandma about the murders. I even recorded her on my digital camera. I will try to figure out how to add the file soon.
Our family shares not the jolliest of Christmas folklore.
For more information about the Charlie Lawson family, visit my blog post from this July. The picture above was taken last Christmas Day on the 75th anniversary of the murders.