Christmas With Bob and Margaret

I’ve written about my folks a few times. My mother died in 1970, and my dad in 1992. The were a colorful couple full of passion, love, and loud words.

Both of my parents were raised Catholic, and both had been divorced. They swallowed their excommunication, because that’s what you did back then, and moved on with their lives. The met, fell in love, were married, and then I showed up.

They had me baptized Catholic when I was 12. It was very important to my mother that I go through the sacrament before she died.

I know, at this point you’re thinking  “Geez, this is going to be a downer.”

It’s not. It’s about a Christmas tradition.


Image from

Even though we never went to mass as a family, those liturgical traditions of Catholicism were deep in each of their hearts. I have a clear memory of sitting on my father’s lap, listening to Perry Como sing Ave Maria on our High Fidelity Stereo . That was a very special Christmas eve. We must have played it a dozen times.

Sitting on Bob’s lap, I learned every word of Ave Maria, phonetically of course. He wasn’t about to teach me Latin, but he was going to teach me tradition. Along with the phonetic teaching, came the English translation. He explained the importance of the Hail Mary, and I remember being enchanted.  Like most little girls, in my eyes my father as a big strong mountain of a man. With joy and awe I sat on that lap and sang along with Perry and Bob.

Later he taught me The Lord’s Prayer, which was on the flip side.  I did end up singing that a few times in public, but nothing will ever top the Ave Maria. I had that 45 for years but it’s gone now.

Through the remarkable world of YouTube, here’s Perry Como singing Ave Maria exactly as I remember it.

Here’s hoping you have a warm holiday tradition of your own.

2 Comments on “Christmas With Bob and Margaret

  1. Wow. This is great. Thank you.

    It’s great to know what other families remember for Christmas traditions. One of ours was the Mister Magoo version of Dickens’ Christmas Carol. Remember that one?

  2. YES! My father could do a few impersonations; Louis Armstrong and Jim Backus as Mr. Magoo. This was my first introduction to Dickens, which is not unusual for people our age. Cartoons were smarter, I know you agree because of your feelings towards Rocky and Bullwinkle. The great thing about this version was that it was a little dark. Not fluffy and as I recall, very well written. Great fuel for my holiday fire. Thanks.

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