When the depression hit about 1929 the winter was bad and the hens couldn’t lay many egg. Christmas gifts were only given to the younger members of the family. Theresa asked what I really wanted. One thing I said was a ring with a red set. I got that and a light blue opal necklace also, I felt I was certainly blessed! Opal my birth stone! Adolph saw I could make Christmas wreaths out of cedar branches and add red crepe paper bows, he asked me to make more and he took them to market on Saturdays to sell to customers for 25 cents each to buy Christmas gifts for the little ones under 6 years at home.
When I was going through some bags and boxes of stuff from Grandma’s house, I kept finding christmas letters from the Callahans (They own the next farm over). I think Grandma must have saved about 20 of them. I scanned this one then took them all over the the Callahan’s place and gave them to Mel. I figured they might be interested in rereading letters from 30 some odd years ago.
I can’t imagine writing out Christmas letters by hand.
When Naomi and I were in high school, Cleo gave us each a beautiful expensive skirt and sweater for Christmas. One spring morning, I asked Naomi if I could wear hers to school. She finally agreed. I loved the color. It was pink and gray with pleats all around and the sweater was pink. After milking the cows and getting ready for school, I was running late and had to walk and run the 1/2 mile to catch the bus. It had rained hard during the night and the road had two-foot deep ruts in it from the milk truck. I was trying to get around them and my feet slipped in the mud and I fell flat on my face in the mud and water. I never was so sick in my life. My sister’s beautiful outfit was covered with mud! I just walked back home and I missed school that day. The dry cleaners were able to get it clean, but they ironed out all the pleats. I am reminded of the old saying “Into each life some rain must fall”. It poured on me that day. Ha!
[This one doesn’t have a date, but maybe someone can deduce when it would be. There are some clues to work with.]
[This was on the back of the letter. It looks like my Dad’s handwriting to me, but I don’t think he was good enough at spelling to do this. On the other hand, maybe he was working out a system. What do you think?]
Christmases at our house were so wonderful. We would go to Christmas Eve services at Honey Creek. We would each receive a big bag of candy and an orange. When we got home, Santa had been there. The front room would have a beautiful big cedar tree all decorated, with gifts stacked 3 & 4 feet deep all around the tree. We would get so many wonderful things for Christmas because we had these wonderful brothers and sisters who sacrificed to make sure we had a good Christmas. We also had big crates of oranges, grapefruits and apples to eat. What a treat that was.
Bea taught me to tell time when I was small. I remember her setting with me for hours trying to get it through my head. She was patient! On the big rocks on the road to Route H, she was waiting for a ride, and I was waiting with her. She had a fork and combed my hair with a fork. Such imagination!
When I was about 6 or so Cleo went to Jeff City to live with Cousin Freida. She went to school there for a while and then came back home and went to Eugene. It was kind of dull without her at home. I remember one evening Cleo had been babysitting in Jefferson City and the family drove her home. It had rained and the road was muddy. The family’s vehicle got stuck and daddy had to pull him out with the tractor. It was good that we had a tractor. Many years before we relied on old Bert, Sally and Black Beauty! My love of singing came from singing with my sisters. I will always remember how proud I was when I first “heard” the harmony singing “Long, Long Ago.” We always sang no matter what we were doing, washing dishes, sweeping, hoeing in the garden…. etc. Cleo was always very resourceful and could get things done. I’ll never forget the mental picture of her grabbing the frying pan that was on fire and throwing it out the door so the house wouldn’t catch fire. She was very generous and thanks to her, Lolly and I had nice clothes to wear, both new and hand-me-downs. Hand-me-downs were like new to us. She gave us new clothes for Christmas, too. One year she gave Lolly and I each a beautiful store-bought skirt and sweater. We were so happy! But old or new, we were always glad to have anything!
I barely remember the siblings from Vernon on up, because they were gone from home when I was very young. It was always a celebration when they came home. For sure it was always, make homemade ice cream, have a wiener roast in the barn yard and corn on the cob. Mother would always make their favorite desserts!