Friday, December 1, 2017

Memories of Christmases Long, Long Ago - Momma's Childhood Memories


Free clip art courtesy of webweaver

     Pastor said once that at Christmas, all hearts turn to home.  I know this is true for me, and even more acutely now that I'm facing my first Christmas as an orphan.  With Momma's homegoing this past March, I have begun grieving the passing of my Dad and my older brother, Bill, all over again.  So Christmas this year is going to be really, really different and for me, very, very hard.

     My husband keeps reminding me that I had many good years with my family, and especially the past 7 when we had the privilege of caring for Momma.  I know this is true, yet I'm still homesick and longing for home, the home of my childhood.  

     As I travel this rough part of my journey, I want to say first to you, Caregiver, do those things today that will be a good memory for you when the season changes and your loved one is no longer with you.  And share those memories because in the sharing, the memory stays fresh and alive withing you.

     And I want to share some memories, too, as I work thru this new way of celebrating Christmas.

     The first that I want to share in these days until Christmas is a story my Momma wrote for me about how Christmas was when she was growing up in the Coal Fields of West Virginia.  I share it here to remember her and to remind all of us how different Christmas was back then.



Mom when she was a little girl.

  Christmas In the Coal Fields
by Audella Grubb Evans

     Growing up in the mountains and in the Coal Fields of West Virginia wasn't always easy.  We had very few conveniences.  In the Coal Camp where I lived, we had one store that was owned by the Coal Company.  The store had a little of everything, but not a lot of toys or things for Christmas.  The miners' wages were not high, and transportation was limited, there were no buses and only a few people owned cars - we did not.  So, very little shopping was done.

     But we received catalogues thru the mail!  Sears, Montgomery Ward, and Aldens - we called them "wish books".  And they became well-worn!  We would choose 1 or 2 items from the "Wish Book" and our parents would go to Beckley, the nearest town to us, where they had stores.  They would try to purchase something for us.  They would get what they could afford.  I always got a beautiful doll.  And if it wasn't the item from the "wish book", that was OK - we were happy with what we got for Christmas.

     Dad didn't want to throw the catalogues away, so after Christmas, we would fold down the pages and make a door stop out of our "wish books".  

     We always had a Christmas Tree - one Dad cut from the woods and brought in.  We did have lights for the tree and some ready made bulbs, but mostly we made our own tree decorations.  We always thought we had the most beautiful Christmas Tree ever!

     The miners had a Union and throughout the year the men would each put a little money into a fund.  The Treasurer, my Uncle Fred Schlager, would use that money to buy nuts, candies, and fruit.  Then he would fill a large brown paper bag with these goodies - one for each child in a family.  We always looked forward to that special treat on Christmas Eve!  These items weren't plentiful back then, like they are today.

     And Christmas Eve usually brought snow - snow that would last for 1 or 2 months!

     What I remember most was our family being together.  We shared our memories and love toward each other and our neighbors.  Not exactly a Norman Rockwell Christmas, but it was ours!  And it was precious.

     Shared with love, 



1 comment:

  1. Such sweet reminiscences from an earlier time!! Thanks for sharing these stories with your readers.


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