Home for the Holidays


Merry Christmas and Happy New Year! Here is your Christmas present for 2018!

Join me in a walk down memory lane, remembering the joy and fun of our family Christmases 50 years ago and more.

These are the homes, warm and bright, where we loved to come together to celebrate the holidays.

Click on each of the 3 bars below for pictures and commentary.

Grandmother Hinson's

hinson kids

Above: The Hinson grandkids in Alma's parlor, Walstonburg. The baby in Karen's lap is Michael. Richie was still just a twinkle in someone's eye!


Janie and Dick Patch in front of Alma's house.


Aunt Brownie had a wonderful, infectious laugh!

richie and jimmy

Finally! There's Richie!

Bill & Ruby's


Above: My mom always put up an exquisite live tree in our living room, this one in Alexandria, Virginia.


My art training started early. Thanks Mom and Dad! I have the greatest memories of our home in Alexandria, outside of Washington, DC.


A Christmas morning in Alexandria with Jane, Anne, and her not-so-talkative new friend.

snow house

Snow at South Overlook Drive, Alexandria, Virginia.

The Massenburg's & the Tompkin's


Above: At first I thought this was Blanche and Rex's house on Johnstons Road, but no, it's the Massenburg home in Larrymore Lawns! That really takes me back. Jake Saunders and his daughter were visiting while we opened presents.


Anne and me in the den of the Massenburg's home on Pallister Road. I got a Mary Poppins doll and Anne got a TV, and I was sure I got the better present of the two.

ben and margie

Ben and Margie share some Christmas cheer in the den on Pallister. So cute!


I always looked forward to seeing my "cousin" Duke, the four legged one.


Lillian Massenburg, my great aunt, was the light and life of every family gathering she attended.

She was also an accomplished poet. Here are a dozen of her poems for you to read and enjoy.

Click on each of the 12 titles below for a poem and picture.



Two sparkling eyes of heaven's blue,
Full of mischief and serious, too,
Two rosy cheeks with dimples two,
These belong to Bill.

White teeth seen through parted lips,
Grimy hands to their finger tips,
Blouse torn and pants full of rips,
Let me present my Bill.

I see him going down the street
Almost running his pal to meet.
His buddy spies him and thus will greet,
"Hey, there! Hurry up, Bill."

When the sun sinks in the west
My little boy comes home to rest,
As a homing pigeon to its nest,
My hungry, tired, little Bill.

When he eats his supper we can see
He's just as sleepy as he can be.
After his "Now I lay me" at his mother's knee
I call, "Goodnight, sleep tight, Bill."

"Goo' night," he says, now almost asleep
As under the covers he snuggles deep.
And to Him who watches o'er His sheep,
I whisper, "Please bless my Bill."

February 20, 1944


snow ruby

Aurora, goddess of the morn
Wearing your soft robe of gray,
Stretch forth thy magic wand.
Turn gloomy darkness into day.

Glide o'er the dewy meadows;
Search out each shady nook.
Let thy touch rest lightly
Upon every babbling brook.

Climb slowly the sylvan hillsides,
Clothed now in their autumn dress,
And the wildlife in the forests,
Awaken them with thy caress.

Make haste, O silvery maiden;
Let nothing now your steps delay.
The magic in thy silver wand
Will start for me a perfect day.


snow window

Lengthening shadows on the grass
Remind me 'tis the close of day,
While on a summer breeze is borne
The fresh, sweet scent of new mown hay,

To let down the pasture bars
Comes a lad with rosy cheek,
Barefoot down the lane he goes
Whistling merrily his cows to seek.

Loud and clear from a wooded glen
Is heard the call of Whip-poor-will.
Soon the voice of his little mate
Will echo from behind the hill.

Weaving in and out the hedges
Fireflies with their lanterns bright
Soar and dip like tiny airplanes,
Cutting the darkness with their light.

The little humming bird makes haste
To sip the nectar from the flowers,
Ere night comes with her black mantle
To cover them through quiet, dark hours.

Yes, I, too, must make haste;
Even now the daylight dies.
Soon these lovely wayside things
Will be hidden from my eyes.


jane snow window

Little brook so cold and still,
Imprisoned under ice and snow,
No longer do you laugh and sing
As you once did in your flow.

Gone are the little children
That ran up and down your banks
Laughing through warm summer hours
Playing many foolish pranks.

And all the little wood's folk,
That are hidden from my sight,
Shiv'ring under icy blankets
Must be in a sorry plight.

I miss your merry, little tune,
That has cheered me on my way
While walking in the evenings
Tired and worn from cares of day.


jane and teddy

Day with her light has fled
Chased by Enchantress Night,
Who lures me to strange shores,
Bereft of warmth and light.

Of her black hair she weaves
A tangled web of dreams;
Enmeshed in them I'm lost,
Like those of old it seems,

Whom Circe with her wicked wiles
Lured swiftly to their doom.
Oh, would that Dawn could come
To free me from her loom.



The old year is dying fast,
The months are slipping by,
The poplars, oaks and maples
Spread bare limbs against the sky,

Now is the time of harvest,
Ripening wheat and golden corn,
While here and there a pumpkin
Gleams with frost of early morn.

In the woods nuts are falling,
The wary squirrel hides his store.
Eager children fill their baskets,
Empty them, go back for more.

Often now the sun is hidden,
Lurking under clouds of gray,
And the cold November wind
Makes me hasten on my way,

To a home with blazing fire
And loved ones to welcome me.
How grateful am I to Him
Who gave me eyes to see.



Ding-a-ling the recess bell
Brings joy to every face,
As each child hurries on
In line to take his place.

Marching on down the stairs
They file from out the hall,
Anxious to laugh and shout,
And play a game of ball.

Soon is heard a joyous shout--
Someone has made a run;
Others chase the ball about
And think it's lots of fun.

Little girls playhouses make
Along the shrubbery walk.
Little rooms they keep clean
With just an old cornstalk.

Ding-a-ling the bell again
Calls all the children in.
Quiet now is the playground
Where once was noise and din.

Ruby Grey


It's not your winning ways, dear,
But your love for me so true,
Your sweet concern for my woes
When cares and worries me pursue.

"Aunty," you call over the phone,
"How are you feeling today?
Will Thursday be all right for me
To come over and spend the day?"

You leave your chores all undone
To run errands all for me--
Grocery, bank, post office, drug,
And any other that may be.

Oh, darling, I love you so,
You are all the world to me
May our Heavenly Father
Keep you near and close to me.

July 23, 1976


alma and richie

I took a walk in the woods today,
The day was bright and fair.
I did not see or hear Him
But I knew my Lord was there.

I felt His hand within my own
As He led me along the way,
Soft breezes all around me
Making the pine boughs sway.

Joy sprang up within my heart,
A calmness within my soul,
A prayer of thankfulness to Him
Who leaves me never alone.

July 12, 1982

She Walks in Beauty

betty and carl

In the early morning hours
I see a lady tall and fair,
Who goes to walk among her flowers,
Breathing the fresh, pure morning air.

She looks not where she treads
As she walks thru dewy grasses.
Lovely lilies nod their heads,
Gently touch her as she passes.

Now the dawn envelops her
While she wends her misty way.
Soon Sol's rays will greet her,
Ushering in another day.

All the flowers welcome her,
Giving of their fragrance sweet.
Little pansies honor her,
Gently bowing at her feet.

She will now retrace her way
As the hour is growing late.
She leaves her flowers bright and gay
To greet me at the garden gate.

A Thanksgving Prayer


Some hearts are full of joy,
Welcoming Thanksgiving Day.
Other hearts, choked with tears,
Conceal their grief and pray:

Thank you Lord for blessings
Bestowed on us today;
Give us strength and courage
To help us day by day.

Bless all the meek and lowly;
They need Thy tender care.
Bless us all, dear Father,
Thy children everywhere.

Oh, Lord Who giveth joy
That young hearts may be gay,
Bless, too, the broken hearted
On this Thanksgiving Day.

Chez Nous

ruby jane snow

Walls four square towering towards the sky,
Chez Nous stands facing the sea.
Tall ships' lanterns from the ceilings hang,
Casting weird shadows o'er you and me.

Our hostess with her gracious smile
Welcomes her guests from far and near.
The old halls and rafters ring
With gay laughter and songs of cheer.

We sit upon the broad veranda,
Watch the breakers, hear them roar.
As High Tide like a monster
Dashes at the sandy shore.

For the giant fireplace
We gather driftwood on the strand
Walking the beach at sunset,
Leaving bare footprints in the sand.

Soaring and dipping above the sea,
White gulls utter their raucous cries,
While tiny tots romp on the beach
And waves wash away their little mud pies.

Chez Nous, we hate to leave you
But every visit has its end.
We'll be back another summer--
Be there to welcome us, old friend.


Throughout the years, our families loved to get together for the holidays.

Click on each family name below for pictures with dates and notes.

The Massenburgs


1962: Although I was only two, I kept up with Ben and Anne that Christmas in Alexandria.

three kids

1963: It looks like we really scored that year! I was excited about the gifts Santa had brought me, but I still had my eye on that Barbie case that Santa brought Anne.

lillian at dinner

1964: Christmas dinner in Larrymore Lawns. Laps were the preferred seating for the Little Girls set.

hearth with billy hearth with bill

1965: Gathering in the den on Pallister Road. My dad probably took the top picture--he isn't in it. Billy or Little Ben must have taken the bottom one because my dad is there next to my mom.

blanche and rex

1968: Although this is Ben and Margie's house, this is probably the first Christmas that Rex and Blanche lived in Norfolk. Their house was in walking distance from Ben and Margie's. From then on, we traditionally spent Christmas Eve at one of their houses and Christmas Day at the other.


1969: One of the most complete Massenburg family pictures that I have. My dad, Bill was taking the picture, and I'll bet Anne was playing Christmas carols on the piano for us. Sadly, I think Rex had passed on by that Christmas, but Blanche remained in the house on Johnstons Road.

The Hinsons


1964: We always gathered at Alma's on the day after Christmas. While the feast she put on for us was always the highlight of the day, we'd go to the tree in the parlor later to open our gifts.

kids and virginia

1968: To keep our families from going broke, we drew names for Christmas gift giving. The adults drew from a pool of their names and the cousins from theirs.

hinson group

1969: This picture is such a treasure. I have so many wonderful memories connected with every face. I love you all! ♥ ♥ ♥