Bettye Johnson shares a cherished memory of a Christmas present and the influence it has had in her life.
Christmas memories come in two categories: memories to be discarded and memories that are to be cherished. I have always cherished the memory I am writing about, however I did not connect the influence it has had in my life until this year.
I remember the Christmas of 1937 and at this time, it was a custom of my family to arise early in the morning--open our presents and to ooh and ah over the gifts left by Santa under our Christmas tree. My sister, brother and I were also looking forward to our to driving to Dallas from our home in Winters, Texas—a seven hour drive on a two-lane paved highway.
My parents were always concerned when we traveled that distance because I had a penchant for carsickness from riding in the back seat. Luckily, I did not throw-up on this trip because I was excited. We were on our way to see my father's parents, sisters and brother. We three children were the only grandchildren, nieces, and nephew on my father's side of the family. During these Great Depression years, even though the economy was bad, we knew we would each receive something special.
It was cold that Christmas Day when we arrived at 801 West Eighth Street in the Oak Cliff section of Dallas. We three children scrambled out of the car and barely greeted our grandparents, aunts and uncles. Santa had left gifts for us under their tree and I knew the minute I saw it that it was mine.
Yes, the moment I spied the toy typewriter under the tree I had an affinity with it and at the time, I had no inkling of the importance a typewriter would be in my life journey. In fact, it seemed that every year from the third grade until I graduated from high school that I received boxed stationary and a five-year diary from my mother for Christmas. Did she know something I did not?
Although I played with and used my toy typewriter, I did not know the basics until I took a typing course in high school. Eventually my speed range became ninety words per minute. I used my typing skills in all of my jobs, including being a code clerk at the U.S. embassies in Paris and Tokyo.
In retrospect, I can understand the importance of the toy typewriter in my life. During my mothering years, I began belonging to clubs and often elected to be the corresponding secretary, which included creating and sending out newsletters. This carried on to my government job with the Social Security Administration in Orange County, California. I created the district newsletter.
In the 1980's I began writing for myself, but it was not until 2003 when I began writing my first draft of the now award-winning Secrets of the Magdalene Scrolls.
My typewriter has turned into a computer and researching and writing is a passion with me. The sequel to Secrets of the Magdalene Scrolls titled Mary Magdalene, Her Legacy, is due for release in January 2008. When I contemplate the effect of a toy typewriter on my life and the memories I cherish, I am truly grateful to the one who chose the gift whose effects are a precious present for me.