December was always one of my favorite times of year, growing up at Steward Manor in the 1980s. Football season was at its peak; and most of my friends were diehard Redskins or Cowboys fans during those halcyon days of the NFC East. I was inexplicably a Philadelphia Eagles fan at the time, but I digress. Needless to say, our football games on the main field behind the rental office on Morris Drive were always spirited and memorable—especially this time of year.
But more important than football, the arrival of December meant the countdown to Christmas. And, perhaps surprisingly, Steward Manor was always a most festive neighborhood.
Driving through the community at night, you’d see Christmas lights adorning windows on nearly every floor of every building. Some were strings of lights; others, like ours, were those simple five-light electric candoliers (shown below from an eBay listing for 10x the original cost), which my mom would place in our living room, dining room, and my parents’ bedroom windows at 100 Bryan Ct. #202.
Others would drape their windows with tinsel—something many residents would also string around the frames of their doors. In any given building, you’d find wreaths strung to door knockers, and countless colorful Santa Claus faces taped just below peepholes. And if you looked closely enough (and before the efficient cleaning crews made their rounds), you might notice Christmas tree needles throughout the stairwells. And speaking of Christmas trees, while most tended to keep their blinds and curtains closed at night, there were always a few who proudly displayed their lit trees for all to see. Many glowed throughout the entire night.
Wherever I am, and no matter how old I get, I’ll always think of Steward Manor this time of year—and smile.