|This and That — Christmas memories|
|Friday, December 13, 2013 9:24 PM|
It was a photo of our family around the kitchen table, while my Grandma was still alive. I was able to get that inside shot because I had just bought my Kodak Duoflex, with a flash attachment. Flash cameras for home use were just coming out and I was working at Stallkamp’s Drug Store at the corner of Second and Main streets so that was one of my first purchases. In those days, very few stores were open on Sundays but in Delphos we had three drug stores on Main Street: Stallkamp’s, Remlinger’s and Pioneer and they would take turns being open on Sundays and other special days. Stallkamp’s and Remlinger’s both sold cameras. The Pioneer was known for wallpaper and religious articles. In those days we all took Sundays off, unless you worked in a hospital or one of the drug stores. We stayed home and read the funny papers. We would have a big Sunday dinner and sometimes took a Sunday drive “to see the crops” or visited friends and relatives.
My friend, Millie Ruen, wrote a poem about Christmas Eve and Christmas Morning in the 1940s. She was one of nine children and they lived near Ottoville. It goes something like this:
The night before Christmas, everything was moving fast,
The tub was set upon the floor, for a bath night was in store,
Each bath was quickly done, being so cold each child left on the run.
The sugar cookies were a mound on the plate, stars, moons, bells that looked ornate.
Pop came in with a large iron pot, filled it with coals that were really hot,
Down the up ground cellar it would go, to warm the fruit so it did not freeze, you know,
Even though the clock said a little past seven, we better get sleep and get back up by eleven,
We needed to attend Mass at midnight and our eyes needed to be open for that great Night.
Slowly we walked by that beautiful tree, with lights all aglow it filled us with glee
Of lights that hung on that big tree, but no popcorn, one of the kids ate it you see.
But if you looked closely you could see those lights were covered with red polish, yes-sir-ree!
The war was on and no lights to be had, so mom polished them with red and made us all glad.
When Mass time came cold filled that room, so we dressed might quick-like, zoom, zoom, zoom.
From the doors of the ’36 Chevy we flew and tore to the house, Santa had been there we just knew.
Sure in piles that numbered nine, Santa had been there it was real fine.
Gifts lying everywhere about and “look at this” everyone did shout.
The dawn brought us back to that tree, and it was as beautiful as it ever could be.
Relatives came to share the day and in the glow of that great tree we did play,
I was shocked when I grew tall, that old tree had grown so small,
Its limbs were few, weak and then, bent and scarred but how big it HAD been.
My friend, Sharon, recalled how she and her mother would get up and go to the 5 o’clock Mass on Christmas morning, then go home to help open the gifts, thinking the rest of the family would still be asleep. Much to their surprise, little brother Rick was up and had unwrapped ALL the presents. Oh! Oh! Oh! Sharon had hid one game, “Fifty two games in one box,” behind the couch so that was the only one she got to open.
I also recall the Christmas Eve, in the late 1960s, when our parents’ home was robbed as they slept, with the bedroom door closed. My youngest brother was at a party and my little sister (now 62) was sleeping over at our house when it happened. The thieves took Mom and Dad’s new color TV, which was only two weeks old. They stole a few other gifts, too.
My dear husband, Hups, used to take our three daughters to town on Christmas Eve day and drop them off at the Western Auto Store, saying “go get your mom something.” One year they went to the Betty Jane and picked out a nice sweater with slacks to match. Back in 1955, after our third child had arrived, Hups did his own shopping at the Western Auto, and bought me a clothes dryer. Oh! What joy filled my heart! A dryer was really a treasure back then. My mom had one but not every housewife was so lucky.
When I was a teenager, two of my favorite gifts were a music powder box and for another year I received a Kodak Brownie box camera that used a 620 film. It took very good pictures and launched me on the road to photography. Now I have “organized” boxes of pictures by the hundreds. Some are in albums but at that time we thought the photo albums with the “sticky” pages were all the rage but it was not a good idea because the acid in the pages faded the colored pictures after a time. The pictures were better off in shoe boxes. When I go into hibernation this winter, I can enjoy putting them in scrapbooks.
It looks like today will be a good time to start. Snow! Snow! Snow! Just keep the electric power on.
Merry Christmas and God bless you all.