Musings from the Hill, Dec. 3, 2015
Thank goodness for Sarah Baker, an editor with the Baker University newspaper, The Baker Orange. Lately, I seem to have lost all track of time and dates. How quickly time flies by. Sarah graciously helps me with my weekly column, corrects my typing errors, and contributes in many ways too numerous to mention. She called and reminded me she was coming by today, Sunday. Alas! Alack! My thoughts are in my head, but not typed. Difficult to type using only one finger.
Lately, my thoughts turn back to my long-gone childhood. During the Great Depression of the 1930s, my father was formerly a salesman for hand-tooled leather goods like elegant purses and wallets made from ostrich skin or other expensive leathers, which were no longer in demand. He was missing for five years as he sought a job. People were jumping out windows on Wall Street in New York City as fortunes were made and lost.
Our house was taken over by the bank and we moved into our grandparent’s home. Formerly, they lived across the street, but they moved into town as the depression hit, when my grandfather lost his job. The house in town had a separate apartment upstairs which grandmother rented out to make their house payments. We could get up at any time we wanted on Christmas morning and retrieve our stockings from above the fire place. Our stockings were filled with windup toys, and very little candy, and we played with them competitively, all the while being careful not to wake up the latest baby.
All of us remember our happy days from a long-gone childhood.
After I was married, I continued the tradition of those quiet competitive days with an entire household, including our childless nearby aunt and uncle and my grandparents, which completed the family circle. In later days, we older children took over the task of the tree, setting it up and trimming it.
My children continue this tradition of fun-filled stockings and jokes. Once a granddaughter asked me what I wanted for Christmas, and I said I want a gold brick. So, she painted a brick gold and I opened it Christmas morning. Every year, I would hide a piece of coal in my son-in-law’s stocking, he would hide it after opening it and I would search around, find it and disguise it for him next year. They were times of much laughter and merriment.
Winter finally descended upon us this past Thanksgiving weekend. Those who pioneered the Kansas and Nebraska territories years ago must have been a hardy lot in the winter months. They were on their own. No National Guard or door-to-door rescue crews to provide aid. Trying to keep from freezing to death would have been a touch-and-go struggle. Many lives were lost and livestock froze to death. Some brought their animals into the home and they survived. They were often unprepared for days of icy blasts. In the 1850s, temperatures in Lawrence plunged to 20 to 30 degrees below zero and remained so for days.
Be thankful this holiday season for your warm homes and the special time with your family and friends for fellowship and reminiscing. Remember what is important this holiday season.