"I'll Be Home For Christmas," has long been one of my favorite Christmas songs.
I've always been a bit nostalgic for times gone by, when things appeared so much simpler, although we know they weren't truly any easier. I used to read my grandparents' magazine, "Reminisce," about malt shoppes and old general stores. We had a 1919 (?) Ford Roadster in our pole barn for the longest time - I'd hop on in the front seat and sing for hours while imagining myself back in the good old days.
That brings me to "I'll Be Home For Christmas" - a song from 1943 war era, a song that brought a tear to the eye of every military family, a song that inspired a country to do all they could to bring their boys home to their families.
My grandfather served in the military during those times. He passed away when I was almost fourteen. One Christmas not long after, I was blasting the Christmas music from Time Life's Treasury of Christmas while decorating or doing whatever it is that teenage girls do on Christmas vacation. My grandmother was in our kitchen. In my mind's eye, I can see her standing there motionless, in front of the window/sink, with tears gliding down her cheeks while this Crosby tune played. She shared with me a story of how she used to listen to the song when my grandfather was away. Hearing it again brought on all of those feelings from when she was a young wife and mother, as well as the new feelings she had of longing to be with her husband.
I cannot hear this song without thinking of my grandparents. In recent years, I sing this song and think of how my own mother misses me so and how I will do anything to be home in Ohio with them at Christmas time.
I get to sing this song with my cast of "1940s Radio Hour," and a tender place in my heart is touched every time - especially the night we pre-dedicated our show to those in the service because one of our cast members has two sons currently abroad.
I think of all of those families, all of the love, all of the unity across the whole country - "I'll Be Home For Christmas" is not just a song, it is a symbol of a place in our hearts we may not remember most of the year, of hope, of what truly matters in life.