A Tale of Two Christmases (1979)

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December 1979

Despite how it looks in this photograph, I (2) really did love Great-Grandma Nellie Smith (75). She was all the things that you imagine a great-grandmother should be. She made the best frosted sugar cookies, and on her TV was a lava lamp that my cousins and I spent hours watching during our holiday visits. She lived three hours away in the next state, but the drive was totally worth it. Sadly, Great-Grandpa Rude Smith passed away in 1975, two years before my birth; I’m told he was a much-loved figure in the community.

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December 1979

Despite how it looks in this photograph, we all really did love Great-Grandma Nellie Smith. My guess is that this was taken after my not-so-happy photo above, which would explain why my mom (23) and dad (22) don’t look thrilled. Trust me, Christmas at Great-Grandma Smith’s was a great time.

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Christmas Eve 1979

Here I am, back in Indiana; it’s Christmas Eve and I’m ready to open gifts.

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Christmas Eve 1979

I think my Christmas Eve gift opening was mostly due to my mother being as anxious as I was to open gifts early. Notice my dad’s rockin’ stereo setup in the background.

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Christmas Eve 1979

What could be in that big box?

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Christmas Eve 1979

Holy cow! It’s a Muppet’s drum set! Don’t worry, that abandoned little chalkboard desk in the background got plenty of attention later.

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Christmas Eve 1979

Little did I know that this would be the pinnacle of my nonexistent music career. If you look closely, you can see photos of my parents and I on the TV. My dad is holding a large glass piggy bank (notice he’s sporting his usual navy blue work uniform), and my mom is pregnant with what would become the angry infant in the middle photo.

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Christmas Eve 1979

Hey, look! Grandpa (45) and Grandma (43) Gleason stopped by for a visit.

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Christmas Eve 1979

I tricked Grandma into getting closer to the drum set. I loved the crap out of that Incredible Hulk doll.

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Christmas 1979

I was still drumming on Christmas morning. I’m wearing pajamas, so, I must have slept at some point.

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Christmas 1979

Okay, this is the last picture of me drumming, I promise.

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Christmas 1979

Look at all that loot. It turned out to be a pretty good Christmas.

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