Christmas Memories Part 2 – Bob Hope & More

Ann H Gabhart Ann's Posts, One Writer's Journal

“When we recall Christmas past, we usually find that the simplest things – not the great occasions – give off the greatest glow of happiness.” ~Bob Hope

I put this quote in my newsletter last week and then because Christmas is for giving, I threw open a giveaway opportunity to all my reading friends.  One of the ways to get your name in a drawing (for a music box and one of my autographed books) is to share a Christmas memory with me. I have been so blessed reading the stories I’ve received so far.

Your stories have made me smile and they’ve brought a few tears. Best of all, I’ve seen the Christmas spirit shining brightly through so many of your memories and that it is the simple things a lot of you remember with the most love. So thank you for sharing and for letting me share forward by printing some of the stories here (with the writers’ permission) on One Writer’s Journal between now and Christmas.

Here’s one from a J.D., a Vietnam War veteran.
“I have a fond memory from when I was in the Army in Viet Nam, back in 1966-67. I was 19 and feeling quite homesick during the Holiday season, but my spirits, along with many others, were uplifted when I had the terrific opportunity to see a ‘Bob Hope Christmas Show.’ Mr. Hope was wonderful, as usual, with his great comedic style. And, it was terrific seeing Vic Damone & Joey Heatherton. It indeed made for a special memory.”

I remember watching those Bob Hope specials with all the soldiers hanging from whatever they could to get a better view. Bob always came out on stage with his golf club and there were always pretty girls who made the soldiers cheer and whistle. While J.D. doesn’t mention the Golddiggers, this group did accompany Bob on several of his U.S.O. tours in Vietnam.

While looking for more information about the U.S.O. visits, I came across the Golddiggers Website where one of the girls, Suzy Cadham shares a poignant memory of a time on Freedom Hill in Da Nang. “We were all on stage closing the show and as far as I could see there were Marines, 20,000 of them, hanging from trees, poles, anything to catch a glimpse of the girls from back home. We looked out on the first rows in front of us, where the patients always sat, with their makeshift IV’s, gurneys, bandages and casts; the wounded, for a precious brief time, laughing and having a good time. As always, Bob closed the show with everyone singing ‘Silent Night’. That day it was raining and we had slickers on over our costumes. Singing that Christmas carol under those conditions, far from home, well, believe me, everyone was crying, not just on stage. There wasn’t a dry eye in the house.”

Bob knew the soldiers needed to laugh and to see some pretty girls from home. He’d done the same thing during WW II, taking a bit of home to the soldiers when they couldn’t come home to their families. And so to all of you who have shared memories (and I’ll share more of them here and on my Facebook writer’s page too before Christmas) as Bob Hope would say, “Thanks for the memories.”

I won’t be drawing for the winners until the week after Christmas, so you still have time to join in the fun if you want. All you have to do is send an e-mail from my website or leave a comment or story here with a way to contact you if you win. I’ve got four prizes. One for those who share a Christmas memory. Another for someone who has never won anything before from me – you have to tell me that to get your name in that drawing. And two more for everybody who enters. So you could have four chances to win. No big prizes – mostly books (for details see my my website Events Page), but you can have fun sharing your memories. And maybe see them here if you’re willing to share forward.

Thanks for reading. I’m so blessed with you as reading friends.