Multi-published author Jane Toombs visits the Holiday Celebration to share a poignant personal Christmas story from the past. Jane, born in California, raised in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula, has returned “home” to live in the beautiful Upper Peninsula on the shore of Lake Superior–with the Viking from her past. Jane has five children, two stepchildren, seven grandchildren, a calico cat named Kinko and two computers. She’s the author of over eighty published books, both in paper and electronic. These include the various romance genres–gothic, suspense, contemporary, historical, Regency and paranormal–as well as other genres such as mystery, fantasy and horror. Jane has used pseudonyms–Ellen Jamison, Diana Stuart, Olivia Sumner–but is now writing under her own name except for her Zebra/Pinnacle romances for which she uses Jane Anderson.
On Christmas Eve in 1933 , I was almost seven years old–I would be in just four more days. My folks had rented an old Victorian house where the stairs went up from the living room, creating a niche where my mother had placed a settee and a small end table with a lamp on it. This made a cozy spot for me to curl up in the evening and read. My cat at the time was a tom named Merriweather who, as usual, was purring by my feet while I read Millions Of Cats, my favorite library book.
The Christmas tree was up and decorated. I could see it from the settee and thought it was so beautiful. I was happy because my brother Knox, twenty years older than me, was coming tomorrow with his wife and their first baby, Kay Jane, who was now six months old. I thought she was the most beautiful baby in the world with her big blue eyes and bright red hair.
A neighbor’s little girl had just been killed after she ran into the street and a car she didn’t see hit her. For some reason I thought about how she would never see a Christmas tree this year. Which led to the realization that even if I lived to be old, some day I would die and never see another Christmas tree. I began to cry.
Nobody else was in the living room, so I sobbed until I remembered my redheaded little niece whose middle name was the same as mine. And I thought since she was younger than me, she’d still be alive to see Christmas trees after I was gone. For some reason that made me feel better and stopped my tears.
Three years ago, when I stood in the Catholic cemetery by Kay Jane’s grave, with her grandson playing taps on his trumpet, I remembered the time I was seven and was consoled by the fact she would outlive me to see Christmas trees. That was one of the saddest moments of my life.
It took me a few years to get through a Christmas without crying, but I finally wrote a short story about a girl whose grandmother died at Christmas and who took years to get over it. I called it Frozen Section and it will be out sometime in 2013 in a free multiple author anthology from Champagne Books.
Luckily writing can be cathartic.
The Christmas Catalyst
THE CHRISTMAS CATALYST by Jane Toombs (Red Rose Publishing) What can a ten-year-old girl do to improve this Christmas when her father will never be with them for Christmas again? Christmas without him seems bleak, so she tries to befriend a homeless mutt, which her mother won’t let her keep. Then when she takes her grandmother to meet the man who moved into the cabin in the woods behind them, she finds he has adopted the dog which makes her happy. But why does her grandmother sort of adopt the man, inviting him for Christmas Dinner?
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Visit Jane at http://www.janetoombs.com/