Tuesday, December 20, 2016

The Ghost of Christmas Past

by Lyn Horner

I watched A Christmas Carol (the version with George C. Scott as Scrooge) a couple days ago. It's my favorite Christmas movie, and the holidays wouldn't be the same if I didn't watch it. Of the three spirits who visit Ebenezer on that fateful night, the Ghost of Christmas Past always affects me the most. The images she shows Scrooge are both touching and sad because along with him, we see what a lonely childhood he suffered and the chance for love he turned his back on for the sake of riches.

After watching Scrooge's look back into his past, I decided to share with you images from my own and my family's past. As the saying goes, a picture is better than a thousand words. Hmm, not sure I should quote that, being a writer. Oh well. When you finish glancing through my memories, you'll also find my favorite pumpkin pie recipe.

My son Dan's 1st Christmas with Tigger beside him
These first two two photos were taken in Minneapolis, where Hubby and I grew up, married and had our children. They are a bit faded, sorry to see.

Dan holding sister Carrie (left) with cousins
The next two were shot in Schaumburg, Illinois, outside Chicago. We lived there for a few years after Hubby was transferred from Minneapolis by the company he worked for. During this period, I began writing as a hobby. 

Shoveling Christmas snow in Schaumburg, Illinois
My mom came to live with us along with 22-year-old cat Blackie. This photo was taken the December before Blackie died and Mama was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. She died a year later.

Grandma Sylvia (my mom) & best friend Blackie
Shortly after losing my mom, we moved to Missouri City, Texas - a suburb of Houston. It was another company transfer. Here we are on our only Christmas there. Yet another transfer took us to Arlington, TX, in the Dallas-Fort Worth area.

Christmas in Missouri City, Texas
We moved into our house in Arlington on Dec. 18th. While I unpacked dishes in the kitchen, hubby and the kids set up our Christmas tree.

First Christmas in Arlington, Texas
My dad moved from Houston with us. He had an apartment near our house, where the next picture was taken. By then, he was confined to an electric three-wheel scooter, shown here.

A few years later: Carrie & Dan with Grandpa George (my dad)
While in Arlington, our collection of cats grew to six. A houseful! Below, Carrie is holding Rumor. He was mostly white, with two gray patches on his head.

More years later: The kids with Rumor
Life pretty much revolved around the kids in those days. They were in the high school band, and we (Hubby and I) were avid band boosters. I chaired committees while he managed one of the concession stands at football games. We loved it, but my writing went by the wayside for several years.

Yours truly with you-know-who
Every year for as long as she could, my mother-in-law Myrt flew down from Minnesota for a visit. She lived to see her grandson graduate from the University of Texas at Arlington. Note his long hair.

And . . .with Grandma Myrt (Hubby's mom)
Whenever we opened presents, cats invariably got into the wrappings. Below is my favorite, my buddy Tommy. He ruled our furry pack. 

Last but not least, Tommy the Christmas cat

Now for that recipe I mentioned!

Libby’s Famous Pumpkin Pie – with a Difference

1 (9 inch) unbaked deep dish pie crust
¾ cup white sugar
1 tsp. ground cinnamon
½ tsp. salt
*½ tsp. nutmeg (instead of ginger)
¼ tsp. ground cloves
2 large eggs
1 (15 ounce) can Libby’s Pure Pumpkin
1 (12 ounce) can Carnation Evaporated Milk


Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.
Combine sugar, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg and cloves in small bowl. Beat eggs lightly in large bowl. Stir in pumpkin and sugar-spice mixture. Gradually stir in evaporated milk. Pour into pie shell.

Bake for 15 minutes. Reduce temperature to 350 degrees; bake for 40 to 50 minutes or until knife inserted near center comes out clean. Cool on wire rack for 2 hours. Serve immediately or refrigerate. (Do not freeze as this will cause the crust to separate from the filling.)

NOTE: For a creamer filling, cook all ingredients in a double boiler, boiling slowly and stirring constantly until thick. Then pour into a baked pie shell and allow to set. This is the way my mom made her pumpkin pies. Yummy!

**If you'd like to find out more about my family and our band of felines, I invite you to read my photo-illustrated memoir Six Cats In My Kitchen.

Find all of my books on my Amazon Author Page:


  1. Lyn, I enjoyed your Christmases past. You know if you have a scanner and Photo Filtre program on your PC, you can enhance the colors in old photos. You'd then have to reprint them, but you can do that from your computer. I've done that with some I wanted to frame.

  2. I'm glad you enjoyed my glimpses of Christmas past. Thank you for the tip. I will try it. Merry Christmas

  3. I love to see family photos. You have some real treasures, here. So many of my old photos are in boxes. I've scanned dozens, but have many dozens more. Some go back to the 40s with my mothers Brownie Box camera. It's amazing how good those black and white photos are. Thanks for sharing all these with us! And Merry Christmas!

    1. Celia, I have some of my mom's black and white snapshots from the 30s and 40s. Like yours, they have held up remarkable well. I'm happy to share glimpses of our family's Christmases, and am so glad you enjoyed them. Have a blessed Christmas!

  4. Lyn, thank you so much for this peek into the lives of you and your family--including those furry members. I always enjoy looking at the pictures and learning the private history of the lives of others. I love the picture of Thomas, the Christmas cat. It was such a privilege to get to know you and your family through these pictures.
    A most wonderful Christmas to you and yours.

    1. Sarah, thank you for stopping by. I like peeking into my friends' lives too. It's fun to see what they and their family looked like in years past. I'm delighted you enjoyed Tommy's picture. He always had to be in the middle of packages and loved chasing bows. Wishing you and your family a wonderful Christmas!


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