Featured Stories

Remembering the holidays through the decades

Nancy Dunis is a member of the Lake Oswego Adult Community Center.


Bah humbug ... call me a curmudgeon. That’s how I’ve been feeling of late. Probably because I’ve had a nasty case of bronchitis and a runny nose. With this Scrooge-like attitude prevailing as I start to write this, I really wanted to rail about my latest dealings with Comcast and Verizon and Direct TV.

However, for the good of the season, I decided to put all that aggravation aside and focus on imparting a more upbeat holiday feeling. So, let’s take a moment to remember favorites from years past.

The ’50s ... I was born in 1947 so these were my young years. Here is what I remember most during the those growing-up years:

My first bike

Fruitcake — Mom’s was the best

The smell of turkey roasting in the oven

Eating at the kids’ table

Another pair of earmuffs

Doing all those Thanksgiving and Christmas dishes by hand

Tinsel dangling on Nana’s tree

That ridiculous picture of me and my siblings with Santa taken at Lipman’s. Anyone remember Lipman’s? How about Olds & King?

Shiny new red Kneissl skis — which I busted the tip off of in Sun Valley a few weeks later. Mom was not happy. It was the first day of skiing and she had to rent me a pair of skis for the rest of the week! Luckily it was the end of the season so she didn’t have to buy new skis until the following Christmas.

Christmas caroling with my Girl Scout troop at Riverview Manor. I think I remember the old people smell of that place more than I remember the actual caroling.

The ’60s ... Yes, Virginia, I did get another new pair of skis the next Christmas — black metal shiny Head 360s with thong bindings. Metal skis were the newest thing. I was so excited. Nothing could happen to these — or so I thought — they were metal! I delaminated the skis that season. Two new pair of skis isn’t the only thing I remember about the ’60s. Here’s what else I remember:

The kitchen smelling like sugar cookies and fudge

Bing Crosby crooning “White Christmas” on the stereo

That last final exam before vacation

The pink A-line wool skirt and matching sweater outfit I really wanted

Strolling downtown Portland with my boyfriend to look at the animated decorated windows in Meier & Frank

Begging Mom to set up the “wrapping room” right after Thanksgiving in our daylight basement and hauling down from the attic all the paper, tape, bows, etc. We had a regular production line set up where my sisters and I spent days wrapping presents and making just-perfect bows. To this day I have a large three-ring binder filled with wrapping and bow-making ideas. Would you believe I actually wanted a career as a gift wrap specialist at Meier & Frank?

The ’70s ... What I remember the most about the ’70s is Mom having cancer and passing away in 1976. She passed away just after New Year’s. I spent all of my vacation time from work visiting Mom in the hospital.

This particular year was not a happy holiday. The holidays never were the same after Mom’s passing. I’ve tried to create my own traditions as a single woman but nothing will ever replace the holidays that mom created for us. I miss you, Mom.

The ’80s ... The ’80s were the years of firsts. I remember these in particular:

Cooking my first turkey

Baking Mom’s fruitcake recipe for the first time. The recipe was handed down to me from my Polish grandmother, to my mother and to me. I had to live up to both.

Making my first batch of fudge. This also had to live up to Mom’s.

The ’90s ... The ’90s were a blur. Dad passed away in 1991 ­— again like Mom not long after New Year’s. I miss you, Dad.

What I remember most about the ’90s is not so much the holiday season but that I:

Bought my first house

Sold my business

Took up ice skating. I learned to ice dance and also skated competitively on a precision team in the masters division. We won a gold medal.

The 2000s...

Buying an “artificial” tree and loving it

Buying a candle warmer and scented wax to create the smell of fresh spruce

Holiday movie marathons on the Hallmark channel 24/7

“Polar Express” in 3-D at the Omnimax Theater — fantastic!

My gift to you, dear readers, for this holiday season is a prosperous and healthy 2013.