Frosted Windowpanes

By Kim Seeley

Frosted Windowpanes

I cried when my baby brother was born. There was nothing wrong with him or my mama, but when my grandma told me my youngest sibling was a boy, I burst into tears. I knew my mother and father would be happy because they had been hoping for a boy, but I was decimated. I had prayed, too. With all of my nearly eight years of religious fervor, I had prayed for a fourth sister for one reason – I wanted us to be the next Lennon sisters. Diane, Peggy, Kathy, and Janet would one day be replaced, in my dreams, by Kim, Connie, Carolyn and ___? God had let me down. I wept hot tears of disappointment, but I straightened myself up and dealt with what life had handed me. We would not be the next Lennon sisters.

My family watched them every Saturday night for years, especially when we visited my grandparents. My grandfather was a faithful follower of the Lawrence Welk Show, and we all watched with him, except for my youngest sister, Carolyn Sue, who was nicknamed Susie. For some strange reason, Susie enjoyed standing in front of the television occasionally just to block Granddaddy’s view. My father would threaten, “Susie, sit down before I put you in the corner.”

My grandfather would intervene, “Howard, leave her alone. She’ll sit down in a minute.” She usually did, but none of us understood why she liked to annoy him during his favorite show. She adored my grandfather as we all did; it was just a Susie thing. Once she moved away from the TV set, we children tolerated the Irish tenor, the orchestra and the solo instrumental numbers. We liked Joanne Castle, the piano player and Bobby and Barbara, the dancers, but my sisters and I were waiting for one special act. Finally Lawrence Welk would introduce them, “And now, ladies and gentlemen, a special song to put you in the holiday spirit from our very own Lennon Sisters.”

There they were, my idols, singing in perfect four-part harmony. In my childish mind, only the angels themselves could compare to those voices. I even had a Lennon Sisters lunchbox and paper dolls, and I owned several fiction books based on the Lennon Sisters.

I had reluctantly accepted the fact that we would not be able to replace them, but my sisters and I did practice singing several of their songs. Except for the fact that there were only three of us and none of us sang harmony at that time, we did a pretty fair imitation.

There will always be one song that will personify the Lennon Sisters to me, probably because it also personifies the three of us sisters as well. Every year, throughout our childhood, we played the Lennon Sisters’ Noel, their Christmas album, during the Christmas season. We memorized the words to all of the songs, but there was only one song that brought us to our feet.

I can still hear the opening strains of the music, patiently waiting for the right beat to make our entrance into our large den, dressed in our pajamas and sock feet. There we go! “Frosted windowpanes, candles gleaming in sight, painted candy canes on the tree. Santa’s on his way, he’s filled his sleigh with things, things for you and for me!” My sisters and I pretended to skate, sliding across the vinyl floor as if we were graceful ice skaters in the Olympics, at least in our minds. My little brother, Buster, was probably playing with his Tonka trucks in the corner, but my mother and father would clap and cheer for us, and we would sock-skate until our faces were flushed. Sometimes we would play that song on a December afternoon, just the three of us, gliding and spinning to our hearts’ content, while the Christmas tree gleamed in the corner.

My mother’s copy of Noel was lost somehow, probably in one of the many moves she has made over the years. When my own children were young, I looked for the CD in the music stores, even in the bargain bins where the singers from the past are often relegated. Just recently, I thought about using the Internet to search for it. Amazon showed it as being out of circulation. Then I googled “Lennon Sisters.” Their website featured several CDs for sale, but there was only one on my mind. I found it, “Frosted Windowpanes,” on the Christmas CD, Noel. It was a little expensive, but I wasted no time. I ordered it.

It arrived a few days later. I tore open the package and ran to get the portable CD player from the bedroom. I searched the play list; it was number four. The opening strains brought tears to my eyes. There we were again, three little girls skating in our sock feet. I called each one of my sisters and played it for them. We all three got a little teary-eyed over the memories the song invoked. Then I called my mother and played it for her. She cried, “It seems like just the other day. You were all so beautiful.”

I joked, “Mama, you know we weren’t beautiful.” After all, I have pictures of myself with ugly brown glasses and horrid hairstyles. But my mother was right. We were beautiful. We were dazzling. In our pajamas and socks, we embraced the joy of the season, the magic of Christmas, and the wonder that music worked in our hearts. We were beautiful.

About this writer

  • Kim Seeley Kim Seeley, a former librarian and English teacher, lives with her husband, Wayne, in Wakefield, Virginia. She is a frequent contributor to Sasee and Chicken Soup for the Soul. Her most recent story, “Amanda’s Jonquils,” can be found in Chicken Soup: Messages from Heaven. She loves to read, play the piano, travel and spend time with her grandson, Evan.

You can skip to the end and leave a response. Pinging is currently not allowed.

4 Responses to “Frosted Windowpanes”

  1. melissa says:

    There is no way I could know exactly how you guys looked then. But through your words, I can see you. You were beautiful and so is this article. I am so proud to be your daughter.

    Love you always:)

  2. Susie says:

    Yes, we were beautiful! I especially thought I was talented, being the youngest and smallest, I could grap your hands and skate between your legs, sliding across the floor on my butt!
    Love ya!

  3. Peter says:

    Nice story. Have listened to that album (“NOEL” Ranwood) and thier “Christmas With” (Ranwood) also on cd now every Christmas for over 50 years. It is just is not Christmas without the beautiful harmonies of the talented Lennon Sisters.

  4. Sherry Baldwin says:

    Enjoyed the story and the memories! Reminds me of my sisters and some of the things we used to do! Your story takes me back to when we were young and all together! I had three sisters but unfortunately not the gift of being able to sing. My sisters never let me forget it either! The important thing here is sisterhood, fond memories and the times shared together!

Leave your mark with style

Comment in style

Stand out from the crowd and add some flare beside your comment.
Get your free Gravatar today!

Make it personal

avatar versus gravatar Close