Wednesday, December 16, 2015

A Most Vivid Christmas Memory by Alisa Williams

Red skin potato salad

Christmas, Mom's Red Skin Potato Salad, and the Mumps

One Christmas Day when I was seven I had the worst case of the mumps.  We had an outbreak at St. Margaret's Elementary School.  The family was unable to take our usual trip down South to visit the relatives, and no visitors dared step foot in our house, but it was still a happy day.  My brother and I got lots of gifts, plus Santa bought my special request:  a black bob-cut kiddie wig with accessories!

Anyway, I was sick as a dog with swollen cheeks and jowls.  Every time I looked in the mirror I would cry.

Every holiday my mom would make my favorite, red skin potato salad with cream cheese; and as we all know, when you're down with the mumps, you can't eat much because if your glands secrete, it's painful.  So chicken broth was my diet all week.

Later that day Mom decided to style my new wig and make my face up as a treat.  Trust, I looked like a cross between a hippo in the face and Bozo, but I was content until dinnertime.

My brother used this occasion to tease me because I couldn't eat anything, and Mom prepared a feast! There was turkey, dressing, macaroni and cheese, ham, cakes, pies, and yes, my favorite potato salad. I begged her, "Please, can I have a li'l taste.   I'm feeling better.  Please, please!"  To shut me up, she gave me a teaspoonful of my fav... and OH MY GOODNESS,  it was sooooooo good!  But of course my glands secreted.  I fell to the floor grabbing my cheeks in agony.  My wig fell off; my brother died laughing, but that potato salad was the best!

Happy Holidays!


I am so sorry you had to experience such a debilitating illness during Christmas, but happy for you that your mother tried her best to make it better for you.

Share Your Story
Readers, remember, you too can share your fondest childhood Christmas story for publishing consideration here between now and Christmas by emailing it to blackdolls @ sbcglobal . net (close in the spaces).  Please also send a few associated images.  I usually publish on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday, but I will post as many stories as possible that are shared between now and Christmas, even if consecutive-day posts are required.  Thank you all in advance!

Merry Christmas!


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  1. What a time to be sick..Sometimes your favorite food makes one feel better. Glad your mother understood.

  2. What a sweet mom! Idon't blame you. that potato salad sounds delicious!

  3. My guess is that the potato salad was well worth the pain! Love your story!

  4. Great story! Off topic, but did you see this on Ebay? It runs out today.

    1. Yes, I saw that auction, April. Thanks for the heads up. Refraining from buying for a while.


  5. Great story and the potato looks delicious!

  6. I received the follow comment by direct email from Betty A. who gave me permission to post it here:

    Early this morning around 3:30 a.m. St.Louis time I was reading Alisa's blog. I'm so glad I don't live in an apartment now because I couldn't stop laughing my head off. Alisa's memory is hilarious and could anyone blame her for eating that delicious potato salad?Come on now, you know you would have done the same thing if it had been your favorite food.

    Seriously, childhood diseases can be very disfiguring and painful. Matthew, my oldest son, was driven home from camp by the school nurse because he developed chicken pox. I almost fainted when he stepped out of her car. Thankfully, the nurse was there to calm me down. He was so disfigured I hardly recognized my son.

    To make matters worse his grandmother had also passed away. He absolutely loved and adored her and his case of mumps was so severe he couldn't attend her funeral. Mama's passing was traumatic for the whole family but I believe Matthew suffered the most.

    Alisa I'm so sorry you had the mumps for Christmas that year, but thank God your mother knew how to cheer you up.There is nothing like a mother's love.


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