Thursday, December 15, 2005

Lois Swanee
Museum Curator

Season’s greetings from Museum

Season’s greetings to all you wonderful people out there in Marshall County and Holly Springs. It’s a great time of the year. Remember Christmas past? It was always my favorite time of the year. I asked Uncle Grover (Bonds) about the Christmases when he was a child (he was born in 1883). He said, “Christmas was always great. I always got an orange and a dime.” My grandmother had 13 children and for dessert it was always a pound cake – a pound of sugar, pound of butter, pound of eggs and a pound of flour. Then a teaspoon of salt and one of vanilla. Bake in low oven (don’t put too much wood in the stove). 

In the 1950s when TV was new, my Sunday school class decided to adopt a family who didn’t have much to make them have a nice Christmas. We all pitched in and got it all together to take out to the family. However, everything is timing and our timing was off as we arrived at the same time their new TV arrived. Their TV was much better than the one I had at home. Do you remember your first TV? It was a fascinating time and a big thrill to watch TV.

Stores uptown (on the Square) were open every Saturday night. Imagine, stores didn’t turn on electricity in the daytime, as they didn’t want to waste electricity. The stores used to stock big wooden boxes of dried raisins with the stems still on (remember, kids, you, yourself had to pull off the stems. You do know that before the metamorphosis, that raisins were grapes? )

One Christmas Eve night I was uptown in front of my Daddy’s store waiting for the lights to go out and go home. A long car pulled up and parked in front of Daddy’s store. The car had a big shiny bumper on it. I stepped on the bumper and began jumping up and down on it, making the car do a dance (I was little-bitty, that took lots of talent and made me powerful). I was shocked when, from within, Mary Burton Tyson began hitting the window with her walking stick. I didn’t even know she was in there. She was married to Bob Tyson. Mary Burton was born in 1857. Bob was born in 1890. His second wife was born in 1917. How’s that for timing?

I remember Christmas in Holly Springs, when we hung our stocking on the mantle by the chimney with care. Nowadays, a lot of us don’t have chimneys or mantles and don’t wear stockings anymore, and in modern times, whoever heard of a kid hanging  something up? The year I was in the seventh grade my dear mother had been really sick and it was decided a Christmas tree would be too hard to put up. Besides she had given away all the decorations. I had a fit and asked my daddy to put up a tree. It had to be cedar because of the glorious smell that comes with it. After getting it up, my friends and I made the decorations out of magnolia boughs and holly berries. We made snow out of Ivory flakes we whipped and it set the tree off beautifully.  

Mildred Turner Edwards said she remembers the snows at Christmas. She said it used to snow a lot and school was open as everybody lived in town and walking in the snow was fun. In 1962 and 1963, it snowed at Christmas as we were living in Grey Gables and the snow was absolutely marvelous. 1962 was our first Christmas in the house so we had a tree that went up to the second floor. It was about 18 feet tall and was magnificent. I remember learning to cook a real plum pudding, cookies, candy, etc. and inviting all my extended family, neighbors and friends. It was a great, memorable occasion.

Mildred said she was usually given a dollar (better than Uncle Grover’s dime) to go to “Hopkins “ store and buy presents. I remember that with my children.

The Methodists always had a big Christmas tree in their sanctuary and once (about 1900) it caught on fire but thankfully, didn’t burn the place down. At that time, lit candles were on the tree before electric lights.

Do you remember Mrs. Thorne’s aluminum Christmas tree revolving in her bay window? In the same house, now Kay Hurdle has one just like it and the same revolving base is still revolving, showing off to the town. 

This year promises to be a good one, too. We hope Santa Claus and his reindeer will stop again and not leave anyone out. However, now we want more than a dollar or a shiny dime.

Everything changes. Santa doesn’t come from the North Pole anymore. He seems to come from Hong Kong. We should be grateful to Santa Claus. He is the only one who comes from across the ocean and gives instead of takes.

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