Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Advent Calendar: December 9

December 9 -
Corpus Christi Christmas -

Prompt: Grab Bag/Author's Choice. Please post from a topic that helps you remember Christmas past!

I'm writing about Christmas in Corpus Christi, Texas, where I was blessed to live April 1, 1979 until mid-October, 1984. One of the highlights was Harbor Lights, when boats in the marina downtown were decorated with lights. This apparently has since become a big festival with a nighttime illuminated boat parade where some people go all out, but it was just stationery boats lit up in their slips back then. The pictures above and below are from 1981. On the left below is my husband Mark's first sailboat (co-owned with his friend Tom, and now owned by his son Drew), the Wagon, and on the right is his second sailboat, Contagious (aka Contigo).

Another annual event back then was the Christmas Tree Forest, held in the Art Museum of South Texas in Bayfront Plaza. Local organizations and individuals would decorate trees to fit with a unifying theme. In 1982, that theme was international holiday traditions. I love the Texas tree, below left. The city Park and Recreation Department (where I worked April 1979 to October 1981) did a "Japan" tree (below right) decorated with paper fans and origami:

The Christmas season wasn't complete for me without participating in the Collier Pool New Year's Day 2 Mile Swim (I'm thrilled to see this is still going on!). Collier Pool was an outdoor pool (heated in winter) where I worked out regularly except in the busy summer season (I used the pool at Corpus Christi State University, now Texas A&M - Corpus Christi, that season). Below left is my shirt from the 1983 swim--temperatures that day ranged from 42 to 50 degrees. Collier staff even had their own tree (below right), festively decorated with race ribbons and swim lesson cards, among other things.

(This is post 9 in the Advent Calendar of Christmas Memories hosted by

© Amanda Pape - 2009


  1. Wow, you still have that shirt!

    Decorated boats are so cool. I remember the boat parades in Orange County.

  2. Amy, I have a whole mess of old t-shirts that I don't wear any more (not professional enough). I'm thinking of having a quilt made out of them.