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The Guest
Refrigerator Door

I'm taking a brief break from Sunshyn's magnets.  The entertainment editor had a lot of Christmas-themed magnets, so I'm going to use them for the next few days, in deference to the season!

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Becoming a Man:
Half a Life Story

Paul Monette
(believe it or not
I'm almost finished!)

My Amazon wish list



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Just say "No" to the Salvation Army.

For those masochistic enough to want to read the on-line version of my Christmas letter, you can find it here.

That's it for today!

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19 December 2001

xmas-seal.jpg (9143 bytes)This is a Christmas seal. I'm sure you've seen them. Probably received several versions in your junk mail this season (though unordered return address labels seem to be ahead of unordered Christmas seals around here).

This particular Christmas seal is from the Canadian Lung Association in 1950. I found this seal by following a link to Catholic Web, and was surprised that its link for Christmas seals led me to this Canadian site. I was hoping to find some Holy Family Christmas seals, but apparently there does not exist a history of those stamps.

Maybe the history is too painful for people my age to remember.

I went from first to eighth grade in St. Brigid's Catholic School, taught by the Sisters of Charity of the Blessed Virgin Mary. These were the nuns who wore what looked like boxes on their heads, draped with black cloth. We called them the "BVMs"

bvm.jpg (6472 bytes)ASIDE: I went looking for a photo of the habit the nuns wore and didn't find one, but found something similar, though not exact--the BVMs were more extreme, with stiff white pleated material at a 90 degree angle to their faces. However, I found it interesting that this was www.nunshabits.com which says We are serious about producing only the finest-tailored, most accurate reproductions of religious apparel. We tailor pre-Vatican II and modified nuns' habits, as well as large rosaries, cinctures and accessories.

At the bottom of the page, it says:


We must uphold the respect of our holy church and the many religious orders and secular Christians who feel the same.

Now, the question occurs to me--if these are tailor made costumes of pre-Vatican-II habits, for whom are they making them, if not "cross-dressers or the like." How do you find someone seriously looking for a pre-Vatican-II nun's habit?

Also, please note that the mannequin (at least I assume it's a mannequin) in this photo is wearing bright red lipstick and eye makeup and color on her cheeks. What serious person wanting a pre-Vatican II nun's habit is going to look like that?

But I digress.

Back to Christmas seals.

Each year at Christmas time, we would be given Holy Family Christmas seals to sell. They came in books of 10 sheets. Each sheet cost 10 cents, and you could sell one stamp for a penny. There were prizes for the student who sold the most. If I remember correctly, it was kind of like green or blue chip stamps (OK--who's old enough to remember blue chip stamps?) where you could save up points to "buy" prizes of increasing value.

Not surprisingly (if you're a regular reader of this journal), I hated Christmas seals. I hated them for two reasons. FIrst, and most importantly, because I hated having to go door to door trying to sell the damn things, and secondly because other kids were more successful than I was, and so they raked in all the prizes.

In the mid-50s, parents didn't have much concern about their kids ringing doorbells to sell Christmas seals or Girl Scout cookies. I can still remember the ache in the pit of my stomach as I went door to door in the neighborhood trying to sell my stamps. Most people took pity on me.

There was one woman who, year after year, bought one stamp. Every year, a penny for a stamp. I don't know why, but I remember she lived up a flight of stairs and on the stairs were fuchias growing. I used to stop by the fuschia bush after collecting my penny and make little ballerinas out of the flowers, removing the long stem and inserting it in the middle part of the flower, ending up with a flower where the very top of it was the head, the middle was the torso with arms, and the blossom itself the dancer's skirt.

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I don't really have a point to all of this. I was just thinking about Christmas seals (who knows why?) and it brought up all sorts of memories of Christmas during my grammar school years.

Oh, and the title of this entry ("Anvils have a limited appeal")? It's from The Music Man, said by an anvil salesman. Sometimes trying to sell those Christmas seals was as difficult as it would have been had I been lugging anvils around with me.

One Year Ago:
The Nutcracker

My tip of the week:
Go NOW to Pictures to EXE Presentations
and download some of the fantastic
slide shows which have been
uploaded.  You wont be sorry!

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Created 12/16/01 by Bev Sykes