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Big Chuck Says: Music Brings Far-Away Kids Home for the Holidays!

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With the Christmas season upon us, and working at a radio station no less, Christmas music means so much to me.  And it always has.

In the early 1950s there were only four children (of the eventual eight) in the D’Imperio family.  Our newest was Susie, born in 1955.  I remember distinctly my Mom and Dad singing a song called “Here Comes Suzie Snowflake” to her as they bounced her on their knees.  A cheesy black and white animated short movie aired on WNBF in Binghamton about this snowflake girl and it was enchanting.  But the song is what has stuck with me almost sixty years later.

Every time I hear “Suzy Snowflake” it takes me back to my early childhood and our Christmas’ at 69 West Main Street in Sidney.  I remember a certain part of the song, about taking a sleigh ride, that my little sister would join in with my Dad and yell out, “Wheee, the rides on me!”

Thirty years ago my oldest daughter was born.  I too resurrected that old “Suzie Snowflake” song for her at the holidays.  And just a couple of years later my second daughter, Katie, came along.  I remember so vividly walking them around our house trying to get them to sleep, holding them in my arms as they tried mightily to keep their little eyes awake, as I lulled them with “Suzie Snowflake.”  It worked every time…almost.

When I got to the part where I whispered “and if you want to take a sleigh ride,” they would always struggle awake, open their eyes wide and in the cutest little baby talk look right at me and sing “Whee, the rides on me!.”

Still many years later, with the newest ones, Abby and Joey, while sitting around the stocking-strewn living room, would also join in with gusto on the “whee” part of this now ancient song.

No matter how long I live there will always be a bond between me and that little ditty.  Sure, Bing Crosby owns Christmas, and Nat King Cole, Mel Torme, Andy Williams and many others will get the major airplay over the holidays.  But for me, with with Katie in Germany, Frances in Georgia, Abby and at the other ends of the earth at SUNY Canton, that song will always bring the kids back home, if even in my mind, at Christmastime.

Oh, Joey is now 16.  I think I’ll try the song out on him when I get home.  Don’t hold your hopes out for the “whee” part from him!  LOL!

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