I’m Your Puppet

Christmas is coming in a few days and we were asked to talk about the weirdest present we ever received. Well, that isn’t easy. I have never had much luck with presents.
My father made a decent living but one can’t say we lived up to our means. And I never got what I wanted. Seriously.
I was easy to please when little and Santa brought lots of things, shiny and new, but I learned early that there was no use asking anyone for anything as I would never get what I desired. Even if family made an effort. For instance, if it happened to be a two-part item, I’d get the part that wasn’t special to me. If I wanted something a certain size, I’d get one smaller or larger, the wrong character or somehow other than what I wanted. Just ‘off’, if I got it at all.

One aunt was like a young grandmother to us,(a second mother to my sister).She always bought us ridiculously expensive clothes for Christmas, always too big and to her taste. If they were wearable at all, my sister usually wore mine,(because it fit her.) My brother got the nerve to ask her not to give him clothes,(which he could not wear. like LOUD ski sweaters), and would ask for nice toys. She bought them, grudgingly, very grudgingly. I never wanted her to look at me the way she looked at my brother when she handed him his gifts. When my sister got older , she decided that we could exchange the clothes , but my aunt would buy at full retail in expensive stores months in advance and by the after-Christmas markdowns, we’d get a fraction of their value in return .
One year an old friend gave me a very large book on tropical fish, but my mother was the one who kept the fish, not me. It was also a book translated from Italian that explained how to capture your own tropical fish, which was not an easy thing to do in the suburbs of Washington ,DC.(I’m not all that sure it is that easy on the Mediterranean.)

I think the oddest gift may have been from another aunt .It must have been the Christmas I was 17 ,(or maybe even 18), yet she gave me finger puppets. They were handmade, imported finger puppets, but they were finger puppets, for crying out loud! I could see if I were into performing arts, but I certainly was not. I was brought up to be thankful and appreciate any gift but she kept pressing me about them. I was nice but I guess I was not jumping up and down or putting on a puppet show for everyone. (Oh, if you only knew me then! Nothing could have ever been further from my temperament.) Even my mother, who would never appear to be less than fawning over her sisters, (or any guest, for that matter), could only muster so much appreciation for them. That aunt realized how ill-suited to me the  gift was and a week later I received a box from one of the nicer department stores in the area. In it was a wonderful dress, one that I never would have bought for myself. It was scoop-necked and rather short, but you bet I wore it. I even wore it to the Kennedy Center to see a performance by a troop from La Scala a few years later. Hey, I was young and it was a matinee! (I went with the other aunt; we had a box.)
I finally parted with the dress a few years ago. It would not ever have fitted again size-wise or in age-appropriateness, but it was still in incredible condition and of such classic lines, it never went out of style. I hope someone wore it again; it deserved a good time again.

Anyone have something to add? I have gotten odd gifts at other times, but not so much for Christmas.
I won’t be back until after Christmas. I wish all of you a safe, healthy, happy, peace-filled Christmas ,(or whatever holidays you care to celebrate).

Consider yourselves hugged!

Tonette's Grandchildren wishing you and yours the happiest of holidays!

Tonette’s Grandchildren wishing you and yours the happiest of holidays!


About Tonette Joyce

Tonette was a once-fledgling lyricists-bookkeeper, turned cook/baker/restaurateur and is now exploring different writing venues,(with a stage play recently completed). She has had poetry and nonfiction articles published in the last few years. Tonette has been married to her only serious boyfriend for more than thirty years and she is, as one person described her, family-oriented almost to a fault. Never mind how others have described her, she is,(shall we say), a sometime traditionalist of eclectic tastes.She has another blog : "Tonette Joyce:Food,Friends,Family" here at WordPress.She and guests share tips and recipes for easy entertaining and helps people to be ready for almost anything.
This entry was posted in childhood, Family, Friendship, Holiday, Tonette Joyce, youth and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

12 Responses to I’m Your Puppet

  1. Okay – I can totally relate to this post! The gifts are always just a little bit “off”. That’s the best description I’ve ever heard for it! Mom bought me pajama’s, 3 sizes too big. I went to exchange them for a size that fit and the were 3 years old, the ladies in the store laughed at me! First off, I was never 3 sizes bigger and second – why on earth did she hang on to them for so many years!


  2. jeff7salter says:

    I love knowing that the dress was one you were able to wear and enjoy.
    Having worn hand-me-downs for several years, I’m well aware of the stigma of getting through school days with clothes that didn’t fit (or were already worn out).
    Most people who know me don’t seem to understand why I’m not all ga-ga at Christmas time about presents. I think it stems from several years in the same boat as you — knowing you wouldn’t get the item you wanted but having to “show” as much appreciation as if you had received it.


    • All to often,Jeff.I wore hand-me-downs a lot,( between my sister and my cousin; my mother made some of my earliest school clothes). and when I got to be a ‘young lady’, the aunt bought identical outfits for me and my sister, to boot! According to reports from all others, I was not totally unattractive, but my sister was always considered the beauty of the family and although I was not heavy then, she had better attributes,(so to speak). There was always a problem growing up in her shadow and then to dress us alike was downright cruel! Fortunately, most of the time she refused to wear the clothes, so if they fit me at all, I wore them.Not that my aunt appreciated my effort!


  3. Pingback: Who really needs a helping hand? | Jacqui Senn

  4. Iris B says:

    What a great post to finish up the week …. love the foto of your grandchildren. Thanks for sharing. Had a great laugh at the fingerpuppets! At 18! 🙂


  5. pjharjo says:

    I’m sorry to hear you never got what you wanted, even thought your family could afford it. But what you’ve written here is another episode which could be used in a future story. 🙂 (Sorry this is so late, still playing catch-up here.)



    • Not a problem, come when you can! I am behind on so many other people’s blogs, (and my personal one.)
      Don’t get me started on biographical stories!I always said if I did my life story, it would be so unbelievable I would not only have to call it fiction, but SCIENCE FICTION!


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