Friday, November 29, 2013
Written in 1944 by Donald Gardner and first released in 1948 by Spike Jones & His City Slickers, this song has lasted for decades. So have some of the toys we asked for many years ago.
I asked family members about their favorite Christmas toys. At first they claimed not to remember, but after they started talking, memories of Christmas mornings bubbled to the surface.
My older brother got some of the best toys popular in the 1950s: a chemistry set, Lincoln Logs, an Erector Set, wood-burning tools, Red Ryder BB gun, electric football game, Lionel train set, model airplanes, and chocolate-covered cherries, his favorite candy.
I remember my younger brother, Mark, getting a Rock ‘Em Sock ‘Em Robot game. The noise drove me crazy until he let me try it. Then I was hooked.
My sister-in-law, Kathy, received the usual girly things: a Ginny Doll, baby stroller and a cowgirl outfit.
My sister, Dutchin, and I also got the usual girly things: baby dolls and strollers, skates, a birthstone ring, and paper dolls.
My bother Rhett and next-door neighbor Johnny Waddell took our paper dolls and impaled them on nails on the front porch. They thought that was funny. They also thought it was funny when one of my favorite Christmas toys, a stuffed monkey, was ripped to shreds by the neighborhood dogs.
You know what they say, payback is H-E-Double Hockey Sticks, and your time is coming.
My nephew Brian got Lincoln Logs, just as his Dad did, but also received Star Wars action figures . . . a sign that things had definitely changed.
His wife, Kim, got an unusual assortment of gifts: a BB gun, a Mrs. Beasley doll, and a Princess telephone. Her parents plugged in the telephone next to her bed while she was asleep on Christmas Eve. The next morning, they called her phone until the ringing woke her up.
Mama said that in the 1920s, each child in her family got only one gift for Christmas. She remembers getting a doll which she named “Norma” and she has no idea why.
As you all know, I’m a huge fan of the Georgetown County Digital Library. I had fun reading old “Letters to Santa” published in the Georgetown Times.
In 1950, letters were received from Molly, Sam, and Dee Hamilton. Among other things, Molly wanted a yellow umbrella, Sam asked for a cowboy suit, and Dee wanted a Lash Larue whip.
Also in 1950, 1st grader Jeanne Nobles, wrote, “The most awful thing has happened to me. I have lost my two front teeth, and now I can’t whistle, so all I want is a bicycle, some doll clothes and my two front teeth.”
A letter published in 1966 caught my eye. I’ll have to ask Gregg Thompkins if his brother still shares his toys.
“Dear Santa, My name is Mitch Thompkins and my brother’s name is Gregg. Please bring us a bicycle, wagon, a teddy bear, a tent, and a few other toys you think we would enjoy. We live in Walterboro, but we will be at Granny’s house for Christmas so please leave them at her house. Love, Mitch and Gregg Thompkins.”
If any of you know Jack Powers, his letter, published in 1969, won’t surprise you. He was 4 -years-old and asked for a pool table, guitar, Hot Wheels cars and a game. He added, “Don’t forget my little brother, Richard, he likes pull toys.”
One of my favorites was written by Elizabeth “Beth” Beckham Doar in 1969. She included her full name so that Santa wouldn’t get her mixed up with some other Beth. She told Santa that she loved him, Mrs. Claus, and the Elves. To make sure he knew of her devotion, she added, “I think you are wonderful!” Then, “P.S. I want to give you a big kiss.”
At the end, she asked Santa not to forget Mom and Dad, and Charlie the dog. She also gave him explicit instructions as to where to leave the toys. “Our stockings are hung in the den. Our Christmas tree is in the living room.”
Beth could have been a professional Santa-letter-writer. She covered all her bases and I hope she got everything she asked for.
To my friends, family, and the GCDL . . . thanks for the memories.
I may be reached at (843) 446-4777 or email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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