Special Family Memories
| But Still He Sang To Us On Christmas Eve
"Testing, testing one-two-three" It was Christmas Eve, 1954, and Dad was trying out the new Webcor tape recorder he purchased for the family as a Christmas present. My sister, Rose Marie, and I were sitting by the living room window of our third story walk-up apartment building in Jersey City, New Jersey; looking out at the snow falling on the drab grey pavement. Mom was in the kitchen preparing the traditional baked lasagna for Christmas dinner. My baby sister, Francine, was sound asleep in her crib awaiting Santa Claus's arrival.
Dad invited us to the other side of the living room in order to join him in a tape recording of "Silent Night". He loved to sing. Every Sunday he sang in the choir at St. Lucy's Church , and tonight was Christmas Eve and he would be singing a solo of "Silent Night" at midnight Mass. So, he wanted the rest of the family to help him practice.
Mom came out of the kitchen, turned on the Christmas tree lights in the living room, and joined us in the family sing-a-long. Dad turned on the machine, put the microphone near his mouth and said, "This is Daddy, Mommy, Jo Ann and Rose Marie singing 'Silent Night'."
When Dad played back the recording, we all giggled. We sounded so different................
"...Merry Christmas, Merry Christmas," I yelled as my husband Frank and I and our two children, Joseph and Christine, arrived at Grandma's house in Hazlet, New Jersey, on Christmas Eve in 1976. My sister, Rose Marie, was there with her husband Richie and their two children, Brian and Regina. My sister Fran and her husband Tom had't arrived as yet.
After placing the Christmas gifts on Mom's bed (she didn't have a Christmas tree that year), we all went into the living room to join the rest of the family. When I entered the room, I felt as if something or someone was missing. As I was sitting on the living room sofa, I noticed Pop Pop's picture was not on the top of the television set, and that his picture had been replaced by the old Webcor tape recorder.
Fran and Tom arrived a few minutes later, and we all sat in the living room to exchange gifts. Mom turned on the tape recorder and we could hear Dad saying, "This is Daddy Mommy, Jo Ann and Rose Marie singing 'Silent Night'."
We all sat quietly and listened to the recording. After it was over, we didn't giggle, but instead there were tears in our eyes. For Pop Pop had died that summer, but he still sang to us on Christmas Eve. Everything was so different.