chocolate is a verb

colors, flavors, whims and other growing things

Tag Archives: Christmas

found poem: her Christmas

found poem: come the reindeer

found poem: December

Good Cheer

1950 ChristmasMy third Christmas rolled around when I was still a couple months shy of three years old. Dorothy’s card that year was a linoleum block print with the red colored in by hand. The three of us are lined up on the couch, each pair of feet missing the sock that’s hung on the mantel.

Though I’m sure my mother intended it to be amusing, there’s a hint of sadness in this year’s image. She was already feeling the wounds and disappointments of motherhood and she would soon be sent away to “rest” and “get better” (what I was told) for some months. She wouldn’t make another Christmas card for four years.


Kleinberg Special GreetingsI was not yet 2 years old but already had the holidays (and everything else) well in hand, if the depiction on that year’s family greeting card is to be believed.
As always, my mother’s deft lines captured something uniquely right about each of us, the message drifting up from chimneys lining the bottom edge and the red and green highlights added by hand.
Merry Christmas!

found poem: the night before


first Christmas

I was 10 months old at my first Christmas and this was the holiday card my mother drew and hand-colored that year. As always, her caricatures capture something essential and true and include wonderful details: my father’s tiny bow-tie (I never saw him wear any other kind of tie), my mother’s red “hair” and pearls, the candy canes and holly in the lettering and the tiny row of Christmas trees that connect the three figures.

Merry Christmas!

best wishes…


PandaThe Christmas tree was in front of the big window in the living room. It was our first Christmas in the new house, so I was 3. Panda was seated under the tree. For me. He was silky, glossy black and brilliant white, and big enough to really hug.

He’s a serious bear. He became my companion, my sibling. I talked with him, discussed the questions I might have addressed with a sister or brother, whispered my woes into his soft black ear. He lost some parts and was sewn back together with dental floss. In spite of my mother’s furious vacuuming, his white fur turned tan.

At some point — maybe I was 7 or 8 and showing the first glimmers of social consciousness — I thought I would give him away to a child who didn’t have something as wonderful as a panda bear. I delivered him to the giveaway pile in the basement. But a day or two later, I felt a rush of horror and regret, and reclaimed him. He’s still here.

He has moved with me from place to place, riding shotgun, belted in on a pile of jackets and books to give him a view over the dashboard. He has worn silly hats and maintains his dignity even with stitches showing in his crotch and his tongue hanging on by a thread. He embodies patience. And memory.

He doesn’t get much attention these days, but when I look at him, what I see is that little girl, hugging him desperately, and, before that, the magic of his appearance there on the floor beneath the decorated tree.

Merry Christmas.

%d bloggers like this: