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  • Tammy Borden

The Year Was 1937. What Happens 76 Years Later is Priceless.


My mother is originally from Germany, born in 1927. Yep. She’s old. But she’s the hippest, coolest, 89-year-old woman I know.  She still retains her thick, German accent after all these years, and she can recall with amazing detail the memories of her childhood and beyond.


Considering how many of my friends and other family members have watched their parents slowly succumb to Alzheimer’s and dementia, I realize how fortunate I am.

As opportunities arise, I ask her questions about her childhood growing up in Nazi Germany, coming to America through Ellis Island, and a host of other fascinating tidbits about her life. She doesn’t always realize it, but I secretly record her telling me these stories.


I few years ago I was preparing a talk for a Christmas event I was speaking at and wanted to include a few stories about favorite Christmas memories. I have plenty of fond memories of my own, among them the year I got an Easy Bake Oven. Needless to say, my cooking skills haven’t gotten far beyond what that small appliance could create, but I’m getting better.


For my husband, it was the year he got a BB gun. Unlike the disappointing culinary skills that resulted from my little oven, his gift fueled in him a life-long love for the outdoors and hunting. I have several dead, mounted animals in my home to prove it.


When I asked my mom about her favorite Christmas memory, I hit “record.” I never imagined the beautiful story that would unfold, and how special that upcoming Christmas would end up being as a result.


It was Christmas Eve 1937. She was 10 years old. Her father was drafted into the German army and had already been away for eight months. She wasn’t looking forward to Christmas because her dad wouldn’t be there.


As the story fell from her lips, I was enamored. It was a sacred story if I ever heard one. And I had an idea.

Rather than tell you the story, I’ll let you watch the video where my mother shares it. Because I try to record them in secret, the angles and videography aren’t the greatest, but you’ll capture the heart just the same. 


Be sure to watch it through the end to see what happens 76 years later. I’m happy to report I have a new favorite Christmas memory as a result.



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