A Merry Christmas Story from Jack 1962

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Post By: Den034071 » Sat. Dec. 23, 2017 8:26 pm

December 23, 1962
It was the Friday before Christmas at Stevens Trade School in Lancaster, PA. Christmas meant my 3 sisters, brother & their spouses & kids would be home, most importantly my Moms cooking & baking.
I had 2 close buddies in Brick Shop, Big Tom XXX & Little Tom XXX. Big Tom was 6' 6" & acted like Jethro on the Beveryly Hillibillies show. Lil Tom was the exact opposite, very quiet, didn't say much.
This Friday morning I asked these 2 if they were going home for Christmas. Big Tom said yes, I have an Aunt that resents me, but I still go. Lil Tom said "I'm staying here". Why I asked. I'm an orphan and don't have any home or family. I was tongue tied. I wondered if I could possible bring them home with me. I asked the teacher to use the phone & called Mom. I explained the circumstances and asked. Of course you can she said, you three can sleep up the attic, I'll get everything ready for you.
We three caught a bus home. Mom & Dad welcomed the guys & told them to make them selves at home. Saturday, we decorated the porch out front and then the Christmas Tree in the Living room. Mom was baking & cooking on the Kitchen Coal Stove. We had fresh cookies & coffee.
The boys seemed to enjoy the warmth of my parents. Sunday my family arrived with their spouses & kids & introduced them to the two boys.
My 5 year old nephew asked Big Tom if he was a giant? Everybody laughed.
After the dinner dishes were cleaned up it was time to open the presents under the tree. After everybody was done, there were still 2 presents under the tree. My Mom said to the 2 Toms, seems like Santa left something for you too. Each Tom received a red Woolrich shirt. Lil Tom said to Mom, I never got a birthday or Christmas present in my life. there were tears in his eyes when he & Big Tom hugged my Mom & shook hands with my Dad.
Well, the week flew by & it was time to return to school. My dad died January 17 of Black Lung, just 2 weeks after we went back to school. I left school because Mom needed me & there was the Coal Stoves to take care of.
I and the two Toms wrote a little but did not keep in touch. 12/22/63 a year later I received a card from Little Tom and an enclosed letter. Dear Jack: I had to write to you. I hope you & Mom are well. Last year you invited me & big Tom for Christmas. It was great, your family made me feel like I belonged, like I was finally part of a real family. I had some nice talks with your Mom & she told me that I could make something of myself & make my own family. I still have the shirt she gave us. But I really must tell you this. If you had not invited me to your house & I had stayed all alone on campus, I was going to hang myself. So thanks again & you & Mom have a very Merry Christmas.
Well guys, this old letter has made my Christmas. Merry Christmas to all you Guys, Jack

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Post By: CoalJockey » Sat. Dec. 23, 2017 8:35 pm

Merry Christmas Jack

As we go through this life, often we never know just how much weight is carried on even the smallest decisions we make. In this case you preserved someone’s life just by asking him to be a part and included in your family’s Christmas. Thank you for writing that, it blessed me to read it.

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Post By: Den034071 » Sat. Dec. 23, 2017 9:09 pm

To clear up any confusion I found this Christmas card an letter while looking for Christmas lights in basement . jack

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Post By: lsayre » Sat. Dec. 23, 2017 9:11 pm

Jack, your stories always touch the heart. Thank you!!!

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Post By: freetown fred » Sat. Dec. 23, 2017 9:22 pm

Nice Jack, brings back memories of my own family. There was always a new face or two around the Christmas dinner table. Merry Christmas to you & Mrs Jack my friend. :)

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Post By: Lightning » Sat. Dec. 23, 2017 10:39 pm

Wow... What a story Jack. Thank you so much for sharing, nearly brought tears to my eyes. It's amazing how just a gesture of kindness can be a life changer for somebody else. Awesome Christmas story. Has there been any more contact with big Tom and Lil Tom since? Hold that letter close, and share it when someone feels down. It could be a life changer again. ;)

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Post By: joeq » Sat. Dec. 23, 2017 10:48 pm

Jack, you must really be "Hans Christian Anderson", cause you sure find some great stories, at just the right time. Thanks for sharing. Have another Merry Christmas, (and another thanks for your coal. It's still burning as we speak/write/read(?)

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Post By: Sunny Boy » Sun. Dec. 24, 2017 7:12 am

Thanks Jack. As always your coal-country stories warm the heart ! Merry Christmas and a wonderful New Year.


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Post By: hank2 » Mon. Dec. 25, 2017 10:24 pm

Great heart-warming story, Jack. You and your family did a great thing that Christmas. Tragic about your Dad though.

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Post By: samhill » Tue. Dec. 26, 2017 8:35 am

Thanks for allowing us to read a great part of family history!

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Post By: Hambden Bob » Tue. Dec. 26, 2017 8:55 am

Jack,I have No Good Idea how I missed Your Always Heart Warming Christmas Stories from the Hardscrabble Times of Your Youth in Coal Country !

Thank God For You ! I'll make a sucker bet that alot of today's Folks would read Your Story and Marvel at how You Guy's had it. I so Thank You for putting those times and Christmas's down to print. You help Us understand so much better of just how Our Black Rocks come to Us ! Merry Christmas,and the Promise of a Happy New Year ! It was so Good to see and talk with You at the Leisure Line Coal Meet-N-Greet !

More Good Days to come for You,Mrs. Jack,and All that Cherish Your Presence !

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Post By: Gian4 » Tue. Dec. 26, 2017 11:39 am

I love this forum. Thanks for a great story.

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Post By: Smokeyja » Tue. Dec. 26, 2017 5:18 pm

Merry Christmas Jack, Thanks for inviting me over to read your story. People are what make the world go round! Peace, happiness and warmth this season.

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