Sunday, December 11, 2011

Paper Soldiers

Soldiers 88_edited-1 

It was a rare treat to go to Grandma and Grandpa Smith’s house for Christmas that year…

Sweet brothers--Grant & Clayn Smith {my dear Dad—Clayn, on the left, his big brother, Grant, by his side}

But even though Grandma & Grandpa lived in Snowflake, Arizona, there was no snow that year…and no money, either.

Soldiers 33_edited-1

It was 1942.  The War was on, and money was tight for everyone.  Little boys aren’t always aware of those things, though…

Early on Christmas morning, 5-year old Clayn and his big brother Grant ran to the lovingly decorated Christmas tree—eager to find the treasures they just knew Santa Claus had brought in the night….

Soldiers 44_edited-1

They found only one gift each—cardboard soldiers.  Sheets of soldiers to punch out and play with…that was it…

And they were thrilled!

soldiers 22_edited-1 {I found these soldier images on line from someone’s collection.  While they may not be the same set Dad had that Christmas, they’re pretty close, he said!}

The two boys punched out, set up and played with their brand-new soldiers all that Christmas day.  All around the house, upstairs and down—finding new rooms to conquer, new strategies to try…

The forbidden-to-little-boys ladder in the kitchen up to the attic was much too tempting for those two that magical day…and up they went…

Soldiers 66_edited-1 {another wonderful find from the world of Tim Holtz.  I just bought these metal tags on Monday with no thought of what I would use them for…fate was kind!}

Battle was interrupted, however, when they were discovered & brought down with a softer-than-usual reprimand, I’m sure—it was Christmas Day, after all!

All the day long they played…the two brothers together…

Soldiers 55_edited-1 {Clayn & Grant standing at attention on their grandparents front porch steps—so glad they were thoughtful enough to pose so appropriately for me so long ago!}

“You know”, my Dad told me last night, “I think that was just about the greatest Christmas I can remember…”

A new page made today for my heritage scrapbook.  How wonderful it was to hear the joy in my Dad’s voice as he thought  back to that Christmas so long ago…

Soldiers 11_edited-1 {no fancy stuff this time—glitter, seam binding bows & such things have no place with boys and soldiers!}

Little boys and paper soldiers. The magic of Christmas, it would seem, doesn’t require too much after all, does it?

See you soon with something new…

Soldiers 77_edited-1 {a single, perfectly perfect & very old button from my stash}



  1. What a perfect memory of content and joy. Love never comes back void; your memories alow you to go back in time with just a "blink of an eye!" How much fun your Dad and Uncle had that day...(until the small,frowned upon ladder thing) Your story jogged my memories of my Grandmother's house on Christmas day and how much fun us "girl cousins" had together playing with our brand new paper dolls! It was probably the only time we all played together really well! Thanks for sharing another great Christmas story! Tell your Dad thanks too, for keeping the memories of love alive!

  2. The less we have the better off we seem to be.

  3. Such a beautiful post Julie and I can feel the great love you have for your father all the way through it. I loved this. The pictures, the story. How very wonderful, but then again . . . your posts always amaze me. Love the newest page in your Heritage journal. It will be a wonder when it is finished. Love and hugs. xxoo

  4. What a sweet was so simple back then and less was just fine...a lesson we need to take with us.
    Hope all your PreChristmas days are being filled with Joy my dear friend. xoxoxo
    Hugs and love to you.

  5. What a wonderful story - it really humbles to think of the little they had and what we all take for granted! a great Christmas story - also LOVE the name of Snowflake!
    Mary c

  6. Hi Julie... oooh so sweet!... and what precious little boys... in 1942, my daddy was already off to the War... as I re~read his letters sent home from back then, I am overcome with such emotion... and how strong and brave our soldiers were at Christmas time especially during WWII... you have inspired me to make a special page just for him and Christmas that year... xoxo Julie Marie

  7. Your paper soldiers are precious, Julie.

    Have a lovely time gearing up for Christmas xx

  8. i always enjoy the stories you have to tell.

  9. I've been writing family stories on my blog. Your posts have been so inspiring to me. The way you've presented them really tugs at the heartstrings. I also loved the story about your mom's dancing. I love WWII era stories. I asked my dad once, what he did in the war. "I was ten!" he said. Thank you for sharing.

  10. Just read your comment on my blog, and YES like you said here, Christmas was simpler then. Quieter, yet still as wonderful and exciting.
    Reminded me also of being at my grandparents house. They used to get the SEARS catalogue, and me and my sister got to go through the Older ones and we'd cut out our own paper dolls, of people modeling the cloths, Then we'd try to find cloths to cut out that we could put on them
    Crazy fun.

    Merry Christmas, and I'll get back to you at the end of the month when I get home from Utha.

  11. What a wonderful Christmas memory and a beautiful way to remember it!

  12. Julie your stories always make me tear up.
    Back then paper solders must have been a wonderful surprise on Christmas morning! The picture of your dad and his brother standing at attention is adorable. Your heritage page is darling too. Wonder if you could find some paper solders for your dad! Wouldn't that be something!
    hugs Lynn

  13. It can be hard to not use feminine touches when working on male pages. This is wonderful though. I like the rough burlap and the way the play tag works off the dog tag idea. As usual your photo is wonderful. Thanks for sharing...sweet story..smiles...Renee

  14. What a beautiful Christmas memory! I enjoyd this story!

  15. Just love your family stories! So glad you have documented for generations to come.

    Wishing you a wonderful week, sweet friend.

  16. Julie, you always touch
    my heart with the family
    stories that you've mined
    like gold. It really inspires
    me to flush out more from
    my own dad when he and my
    mom are here for Christmas.
    He was born in 1939, so he
    was also a little guy in 1942.
    Have a wonderful week!

    xx Suzanne

    PS: You should link this post
    up on Monday Moments, tomorrow.
    It is too sweet not to be shared!

  17. So very sweet Julie! You always put such love into your pieces! Merry Christmas dear friend! Love ya, Maryjane xox

  18. Hi Julie, you always manage to tie together family stories and old photographs beautifully. I love those little soldiers at attention with their spindly legs hanging out of those short-shorts. So cute! Sure wish folks in this day and age would realize just how simple and wonderful Christmas can be without all the stuff. Wishing you a wonderful week. Tammy

  19. I am visiting from lovely Suzanne's Monday Moments. What a wonderful story you have just shared with us. Truly inspiring. Sometimes we get so caught up in the rush of things and forget that it's not about all the "stuff", it's really all about the love and gratitude of the Christmas season. Very inspiring post!

  20. You have done it again with your lovely posts about those who have gone before. I just love it when you post about things like this. Have a Merry Christmas friend!

  21. Precious priceless memories!

    Thank you for sharing - you've touched my heart and brought tears to my eyes.

  22. I think that we have forgotten how simple Christmas can and possible should be . . . so fun picturing the boys with their paper soldiers.


  23. Tears in my eyes. Makes my memories so close.