Chanukah is supposed to be the festival of lights, the festival of joy. The Chanukah memories of my early childhood are dim, though, except for one year.
I was in third grade and probably seven years old. It was December. My sisters and I were home all day while my parents were at work. We might have had a babysitter with us, but I can’t recall. I do remember, however, eating numerous Skippy chunky peanut butter sandwiches on white bread. Maybe I had five or more of these sandwiches??
Well, they all came up to haunt me later that night. The upstairs hallway rug was never the same. My poor mother; she sat with me in the bathroom while every sandwich, and then some, spewed out of my body. Cleaning the rug must not have been fun, either.
Unlike most stomach bugs, however, this one lasted for days. I couldn’t keep anything down. At some point, Mom called our pediatrician, Dr. Samuel Glick. Maybe he made a house call, but most likely he prescribed something over the phone.
Chanukah began that week. I vaguely remember spending most of the holiday on the sofa, miserable, and not particularly excited about new toys and games. The worst part was having to be woken up in the “middle of the night” – probably around 9:30 or 10 p.m. – to take Dr. Glick’s prescribed medicine. It tasted awful and was given to me over ice chips. It was supposed to calm the stomach and help the vomiting cease. I suspect this was paregoric, which is opium based. That’s strong stuff for a kid!
One of those evenings, while urging me to get this unpleasant stuff into my body, my parents told me that I was very special. I was going to be the first one in the family to see the amazing gift we were getting the next night. This was quite a coup for me, the youngest.
What was the present? A “portable” television, which meant we would be a two TV family! Nyah, nyah – I knew about the TV before my sisters! That was the best part of Chanukah.
Of course, in today’s world, this portable TV would be a joke. It must have weighed 40 pounds, if not more. The only thing portable about it was that it could be moved from room to room, unlike the console TV. However, for me Chanukah that year ended up being a special festival of joy.
PS: I never ate Skippy chunky peanut butter again.
Read more by Eileen Creeger.