Tuesday, December 10, 2013



In Brussels at the St Nicholas church there is still a shop or two cemented against the church, the way it was eons ago. They tell us the shops were built all against the church at one time. I should Google that and verify but the guide told me that. If I did not tip him enough he probably told me a story.

Anyway St Nicholas dressed as a Bishop comes with Zwarte Piet, a little black boy.
Must research that too.....

I was totally immersed in his being the one who came with his donkey and gave us oranges and sometimes toys depending what financial state we were in.
We left him cookies or bread and a carrot for the donkey, I think we forgot about Zwarte Piet.

I must have been about 4 or 5 when I went to visit him at the Innovation. They had done a superb display made walls look like an ice tunnel, I loved it and my mother would not shut up about all the work they had done. So I looked a bit more intently.
Mother had a thing about dirty clothing, a good thing she did not have a boy. She knitted all my clothing and I had to be always neat or what would people think.
So that afternoon I had my beige knitted coat on with a french beret (knitted) which had a large ponpon on top. I slowly watched st Nicholas talking to the kids and became a bit confused about all the angels around him, angels with lipstick. I know my mother did not wear lipstick so this was odd.
Angels I knew also made St Nicholas 's bed and when they shook it too much then it snowed. Sometimes it was God making his bed, mother did get confused about that issue.

I gingerly crawled on st Nicks lap and gave him a good look and I felt I needed to tell him and my mother that his white gloves were dirty. I do not remember what he answered but I know the angels quickly took me to the place where I could get a gift. I was proud of myself because I thought he should know that his gloves would upset my Mama and I better warn him.


I was 14 3/4 , tall, blonde, and still having the shape of an ironing board for which my mother was very happy. I was all legs and thought I was truly an ugly duck. But slowly I noticed boys looking in my direction in town where I had started to work in a fabric shop and going to evening school. All the boys in our small village knew me so that did not mean anything when they looked but city boys was another matter.
So one day there was to be a st Nicholas parade. I stood in the center of town , corner of Veldstraat and the Koornmarkt and waited for the action to begin. Little brats all around me trying to push me out of the way as they felt I no longer belonged there. I stood my ground. I knew a secret. I had been told by friends that the University guys were all going to be dressed up as St Nick and ruin the parade with their dancing and yelling and whatever they had in mind. I knew this was going to be fun. One float with Mayor passed by and flag people and then about 50 St Nicholas guys with baskets of oranges and chocolates. They came running towards me ignoring the little kids and filled my pockets and arms with goodies. I could feel my cheeks exploding  like they were on fire, I must have been beet red. The Mom's around me shouting to the guys and here I stood. I even had a few kisses.
What fun it was to work downtown, I ran into my store and shared with the owners. They had watched me from across the street and could not wait to tell my mother.
I was in another world at least for a few hours.
By January 1st my mother managed to get me hired in her office, well under her control and eye sight!

1 comment:

Unknown said...

Wonderful stories J!