Bellevue's Snowflake Lane: Memories of a happy time

One of my great delights during December is a visit to Snowflake Lane in downtown Bellevue. At seven o’clock, toy soldiers march from Lincoln Square to take their posts atop toy drums that line the streets, drumming all the while.

One of my great delights during December is a visit to Snowflake Lane in downtown Bellevue. At seven o’clock, toy soldiers march from Lincoln Square to take their posts atop toy drums that line the streets, drumming all the while.

Holiday music and narration stir up the spirit of the season, and it magically begins to snow. It’s impossible not to smile. I see the families with children, and I wonder if these little ones will remember a happy time when it snowed every evening in downtown Bellevue.

My earliest Christmas memories are still vivid, and if I sit quietly I can remember shopping in uptown Butte with my mom and dad in the middle of December. Dad was a miner, but outside of work he was a gentleman.

He never went uptown, so-called because it was on a hill, without wearing a tie, wing-tipped shoes, a sport coat and overcoat, and a dapper hat that he would lift graciously whenever he passed a woman. Mother would wear a tailored wool coat, leather gloves, and a small hat.

Christmas shopping was special, so my sister and I wore dresses, patent leather shoes, wool coats, and fuzzy hats that tied under our chins. My brothers wore corduroy slacks and warm coats.

I can recall the sound of the snow crunching under foot, the squeaky sound that it makes when the climate is cold and dry. Dad would guide mother by the elbow across icy patches while each of them held a child by the hand. It’s entirely possible that this little Christmas scenario happened only once or twice, but when I think of Christmas shopping, this is my memory. We were the very picture of post-war America, and I think we were all very happy. At least I know I was.

I wonder sometimes what my sons will tell their children about their childhood Christmases. Will they remember the bonfires at O.O. Denny Park when the Christmas Ships visited the neighborhood? Will they remember decorating the tree, and how an argument seemed to be part of the tradition? Will they remember the Christmas when we all got sick, and Joe watched Lady and the Tramp 50 times while he waited for the rest of us to feel better? Or the Christmas of the chicken pox, when both boys were very seriously ill? How about the year that Joe got a puppy named Happy? That was the year we had a white Christmas, and a bunch of people were stranded at our house.

It really doesn’t matter if they remember all of this or none of it. But I hope that whatever their memory, they remember that we were happy. At least I know I was.