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Aunt Margie’s Christmas Present:

My aunt Marjorie (Margie) was the fourth, and youngest of Gran’s daughters.

Being four years younger than Ma assured that if nothing else, Ma could be depended upon to regard her as something considerably lower in the food chain than herself. It couldn’t have helped that as a tiny tot, Margie was ceded to be the beauty of the family, either. (She was a lovely tiny tot.)

In any case, with a family of six children spaced out over 19 years throughout an era during which making ends meet was difficult enough to ensure that married children and their spouses would, at least temporarily, live with their parents, a certain amount of doubling up in the available space was inevitable. Ma and Margie shared a room.

And for several evenings of the autumn that Margie was 10 or so, she found herself barred from it.

Since she was being driven from her own room by her elder sister’s shrieks that she “Go away! Go away! I’m finishing your Christmas present!” she was able to accept this with some equanimity.

Therefore, upon the blessed day, it was with indignation and some slight disappointment that Margie discovered this mysterious present to be no lovingly hand-made piece of either art or utility, but, rather, an only slightly used second-hand copy of ‘Kabumpo of Oz’.