70 Years of Christmas Memories

 

This article could have been titled 62 Years of Christmas Memories, since my first memory of Christmas would be of 1952 Christmas, when we lived close to Louisiana College in PIneville,, Louisiana. My first memory is of the Christmas stockings that were not hung by the chimney with care, since we had no chimney, but they still were hung with care. I will never forget my mom staying up all night, to wrap presents and hang the stockings.

One of my favorite memories was going to S.H. Kress store in Alexandria and trying to make my money stretch enough to buy presents for everyone in the family, which consisted of mom, dad, two brothers and one sister at the time. It was fun wrapping the presents, even though my wrapping skills were rudimentary at best.

Another memory is the Christmas tree lighted up with lights. We bought our trees from the Lion’s Club, where they were sold in front of Huey P. Long Hospital on Main Street.

It was exciting to ride on the Boy’s Scouts float in the Christmas parade, when I was with the Pineville Boys Scouts.

 

I will never forget the miniature church that would be displayed every Christmas in downtown Alexandria. It was misplaced for a few years, but the last I knew it is back on display again .

City Hall lighted up for Christmas in the 1950’s.

This photo was taken from the 2013 Christmas parade in Pineville. I can remember some brutally cold nights, on the night of the Christmas parade over the years. I haven’t been to a Pineville Christmas parade for at least seven years now, but time can’t erase the memories of the ones I have seen.

The Alexandria water tower lighted up for Christmas has been another Christmas tradition for many years. It was easy to find since it could be seen from a distance.

 

Policemen Injured in Christmas Parade Accident

One Alexandria Christmas parade in 70’s had an accident, which I personally witnessed. A reserve sheriff’s deputy was talking to my mom, then said he had to get back to work. A couple of minutes later that same deputy directed a car on a side street onto the street where the parade was almost starting . However, a Alexandria policemen, on a motorcycle on the parade route was hit by the car. The policeman flew up in the air and landed on the car. He was seriously hurt and if I remember right the accident happened before the start of the parade. I will never forget the policeman going airborne, before landing on the car.

 

Annual Christmas Party at Louisiana College

It was a highlight for me every Christmas when the faculty of Louisiana College and their families would have their annual Christmas party.

 

Christmas Eve Services At Pineville Park Baptist Church

I miss the Christmas Eve services at Pineville Park Baptist Church on Christmas Eve. The lighted candles, the music and the words spoken by the pastor made it a special night, that I always looked forward to each year.

 

Christmas Lights in Pineville

It wasn’t Christmas in Pineville, until  the Christmas lights were put up during the Christmas season.

 

Family Altar On Christmas Morning

We always had our family altar, before we opened Christmas presents. My mom would read the devotional that day, from the Home Life magazine.

 

Christmas Bonuses

We would receive our Christmas bonus at the Alexandria Town Talk, for many years till Gannett bought the Town Talk and put a screeching halt to that nonsense. I was working for the Monroe Morning World in Monroe, Louisiana from 1974-1976 and will never forget the $10 Christmas bonus. It really wasn’t a $10 bonus, though since they took tax out of the $10, so the check was for $9 and a few cents left over.

 

Christmas With 8 Degree Weather

I will never forget one Christmas, when it was 8 degrees. The car wouldn’t start, when I tried to start it later that day, so I could go to work. I ended up walking the two miles, to the Town Talk and freezing in the cold wind.

 

Christmas In Hawaii

I spent three Christmases in Hawaii, while stationed at Schofield Barracks,  in 1963, 1964 and 1965, before being sent to Vietnam. I went to a USO show, that had performers singing I’ll Be Home For Christmas. It wasn’t a great song selection, since I didn’t want to be reminded, that I wouldn’t be going home that Christmas.

 

One of my favorite Christmas albums

 

Christmas Music

One of my favorite parts of Christmas is the great Christmas music. O Holy Night is one of my favorite Christmas songs, with O Little Town of Bethlehem a close second.

My favorite secular Christmas songs are songs like The Christmas Song,  White Christmas, Blue Christmas, Please Come Home For Christmas and Rockin’ Around the Christmas Tree. 

 

Bob Hope and Connie Stevens appearing in Bob Hope Christmas Show in 1970.

Andy Williams on Christmas Show

Christmas Specials On Television

The Bob Hope Christmas specials were another favorite part of Christmas. I was impressed that he missed many Christmases at home, to entertain American troops around the world. I also enjoyed the Andy Williams Christmas specials each year.

 

Old Time Radio Christmas Programs

I collect old-time radio shows and some of my favorite shows are the Christmas episodes, of shows like Fibber McGee and Molly, Jack Benny and the Great Gildersleeve. One of my all time favorites is A Daddy for Christmas, which was heard on Family Theater.

This is the funniest show I have ever heard on old-time radio. It is the first Fred Allen radio show ever broadcast from 1932 and is now 82 years old. Best part is when a speaker gives a pep talk to the employees of the Mammoth Department Store. Fast forward through the music at the first to get to show. It can be heard on You Tube. You can be glad you weren’t around in 1932, because the music is terrible, but just fast forward through it, especially the lady that is making a futile attempt at singing. It is sad they didn’t have the technology in 1932,  to rid the show of all the horrific singing.

Funniest Christmas Show Ever

The Jack Benny Christmas program is hilarious, and the dialogue between Jack Benny and Mel Blanc shown in photo is priceless. The show is funny from start to finish.

Best Christmas Movie

It’s A Wonderful Life is the best of all the Christmas movies, but that is only my opinion and my opinion with three dollars will buy a gallon of gas, so it is not really worth that much. Jimmy Stewart and Donna Reed are the most recognizable stars in the movie, but Frank Faylen, who portrayed the father of Dobie Gillis, in the show of the same name was a cab driver in the movie.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Christmas Memories

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!!!

Christmas is a very happy time for most of us but it can be a very sad time for those who have lost loved ones. Those who have lost a husband or a wife dread the coming of another Christmas season without their spouse.

It is even worse for those who have lost a loved one during the same year and face their first Christmas without them there to share the Christmas experience.

Happy Christmas Memories

The most exciting part of Christmas starts for kids on Christmas Eve when they go to bed wondering what presents they will find under the tree the next morning.

My mother would read from the Home Life a Baptist publication before we could open our presents. She would have stayed up most of the night wrapping presents and filling stockings.

Christmas Specials and Movies

Watching Christmas specials on television were always a big part of our Christmases. We would watch the Bob Hope Christmas show, Andy Williams, Perry Como and other entertainers who had Christmas shows.

Natalie Wood and Maureen O'Hara pictured in a scene from Miracle on 34th Street with Natalie being nine when the movie was made..

We would watch the classic Christmas movie Miracle on 34th Street with Natalie Wood portraying the daughter of  Maureen O’Hara’s character. She was taught by her mother to not believe in Santa Claus.

White Christmas was released in 1954 and is will be shown six times on Christmas Eve on AMC.

Another favorite was White Christmas in which Bing Crosby sings the Irving Berlin classic song White Christmas. It also stars Rosemary Clooney and Danny Kaye. The film was released in 1954 and will be shown on AMC six times on Christmas Eve this year starting at 9 AM but no time zone was listed so assume it is 9 AM ET and 8 AM CT.

I’ll Be Home For Christmas Meaningful Song

It wasn’t easy listening to I’ll Be Home For Christmas during the Christmases of 1963, 1964 and 1965 since I was in Hawaii those three years and wouldn’t be home for Christmas until 1966 after returning home from Vietnam.

I played Christmas music on my record player in the barracks but it wasn’t well received by the other soldiers who also wouldn’t be home for Christmas.

When the Johnny Grant USO Show came to Schofield Barracks with Julie Newmar and Stefanie Powers and others the thing I remember most is that someone sang I’ll Be Home For Christmas which reminded me that I wasn’t going home for Christmas that year.

Other Christmas Memories

I remember the Christmas parties at Louisiana College for the faculty and their families in the cafeteria…the Christmas parades in Alexandria…Ethma Odum reading the The Littlest Angel on KALB TV…Town Talk Christmas parties…Santa Claus appearing in several different stores each Christmas…the $150 Town Talk Christmas bonus which Gannett brought to a screeching halt…the Christmas lights on buildings we could see on the back dock of the Monroe Morning World when we would take our breaks.

Going to the Christmas Festival in Natchitoches on a very rainy day and having a flat tire on way to Natchitoches and car overheating on way back from being in a long line of cars leaving Natchitoches after the parade….the miniature church on the square in middle of downtown Alexandria…the Christmas music being played over loudspeaker we could hear from the Town Talk.

The Christmas Eve Candlelight Services at Pineville Park Baptist Church and how the colder it was the more it felt like Christmas…Seeing the Living Christmas Tree program at Kingsville Baptist Church…hearing Bishop Charles Greco on KALB radio on Christmas Eve…the Christmas lights strung across Main Street in Pineville…the water tower in Alexandria covered with Christmas lights.

The KCS Christmas train parked on the train track by Louisiana College and the long wait in the brutally cold weather that night to board the train to see inside the train….65 snowless Christmases in Louisiana… Christmas caroling as we walked from house to house singing Christmas carols to people we knew and didn’t know and seeing living nativity scenes at churches.

We want to take this time to wish everyone a very Merry Christmas!!