Christmas at Eagle Pond
In 1940, Donnie Hall is twelve years old. His mother has undergone surgery and needs peace and quiet at home to recover. Since it’s the Christmas holiday, Donnie is sent from his home in Hamden, Connecticut, to his grandparents’ farm in New Hampshire. Donnie makes this trip alone even though it requires a change of trains and a short journey to North Station in Boston. His grandfather meets him at journey’s end and, once installed in his room at the farm, Donnie relates his observations of daily life on the farm in winter, at times comparing it to his summer visits. We meet neighbors and relatives and hear stories of eccentric relatives who have passed on. It would be the last of such Christmases because the United States would be in World War II before the next Christmas came, and nothing would ever be the same again.
Donald Hall was Poet Laureate of the United States from 2006 to 2007. While he spent his summers with his grandparents at Eagle Pond, he had always wanted to spend a Christmas there. This story is what such a Christmas could have been. Hall’s prose style is sometimes poetic but easy and enjoyable to read.