Writing stories to pass values from one generation to the next

The Huge Box in the Station Wagon: A Christmas Story

Station wagon

Photo Credit: Aiden Jewell via Photopin cc

This post was originally published on the FamilyStoryLegacy blog as part of a series called One Thing Thursdays. Guest bloggers tested their storytelling mettle by turning a partial sentence into a story of 300 words or fewer.  The Christmas series  began with this statement:

One thing I will always treasure about a particular Christmas is…

Today’s perspective of Christmas is one that far too many people must consider.  Divorce and the subsequent effects on children become heightened at this time of year.  This week’s One Thing Christmas treasure is set amidst the chaos of a recent divorce and in the unlikeliest of places–a station wagon.  What came out of that Christmas was a story of love that has been told…and re-told…and has affected generations.

This story comes from Heather Myrick, a very gifted writer who writes (way too infrequently) at Butterfly Genes.  Memories of her mother have been at the top of Heather’s mind since losing her to breast cancer in 2010.  She hopes to show her family a portion of the love her mother showed her.

The Huge Box in the Station Wagon

station wagon

Carlyn, Momma, me circa 1978, when this story takes place

One thing I will always treasure about a particular Christmas didn’t actually happen on Christmas.
One afternoon during the Christmas season after my parents’ divorce, Momma was unusually late picking my sister Carlyn and me up from the school bus stop. When we finally saw her, she had pulled into the parking lot across from where we were, visibly distressed about our situation.  After several moments of indecision she reluctantly drove over to where we were, not having a better solution to our unbeknownst-to-me predicament.
When we got in the car, I noticed a huge box in the back of the station wagon, but being the oblivious eight-year-old that I was, had no idea what the box held. My sister, who is 4 ½ years older than me, knew immediately what was in the box…a brand-new-complete-with-stand color television set, just for the two of us! We were ecstatic! What a luxury!
Momma had been on her way back to our apartment to hide the special present when she saw us at the bus stop. Whether she misjudged the time we were supposed to be there, or thought it was our friend’s turn to pick us up, I don’t know, but she knew she couldn’t just leave us there all alone at the bus stop. She was so upset…I can’t imagine her disappointment when she realized the sweet surprise waiting for us on Christmas morning wasn’t going to happen. 

station wagon

Carlyn, Momma, and me, a “few” years later

That year had been hard for all of us…Momma, Daddy, my sister and me. Momma was trying so hard to make that Christmas as special as she could, and even though we didn’t get that Christmas Day surprise, what we received that year was a memory that just solidified in our minds how much Momma loved us.

Heather Myrick

One Thing Question for Families of Divorce

How do you make Christmas special in family circumstances brought on by divorce?


About Al Ainsworth

Al Ainsworth is a values storyteller. He works with individuals, businesses, churches, and other organizations to pass along their values through the stories they tell…and re-tell. Al is the author of Lines in the Gravel, Stories from the Roller Coaster (of a Faith Life), and the Coach Dave series. Subscribe to his email list for more values storying.

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