One year at Christmas in the middle 1950s all the Luehr’s came to Grandma’s house for a “reunion.” I think there were a couple of these, with the last one somewhere in the 1980’s. All the cousins, aunts and uncles came to Grandma’s house … the Pink House.
The big thing that makes this Christmas memorable was that Santa showed up. Keep in mind that there were nearly a dozen kids in that little house. All of the kids were in the living room doing something, maybe watching TV or playing games. Who knows where the adults were. We didn’t care.
There was a huge ruckus, with stomping and thumping noises outside the back door, then an adult in the kitchen yelled “Santa’s on the back porch!” Every kid took off running through the dining room to the kitchen to see him. There was nothing there. Even the adults seemed to be missing. What a disappointment! We all dejectedly walked back to the living room. How we could have missed the old man? We had been this close to actually seeing Santa and his reindeer. It was a long walk back to the living room, until the first kid saw them; a huge stack of presents under the Christmas Tree. Enough for everybody! What a buzz! The disappointment was completely forgotten. I’ve forgotten everything else about that reunion, not even remembering what the gifts were.
The next year, before I turned ten, I became the Santa Claus, putting the Christmas Eve presents under the tree when the two younger kids were at the church Christmas program. Curiously, I have almost no other memories of my little brothers while living in the Pink House. Until we arrived in New Mexico when I was about nine, they didn’t play a big part in my life.