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Fair Oaks residents recall favorite gifts

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What with everything decorated so beautifully under our big roof, it only stands to reason that this column sticks with the Christians theme. So we talked about a favorite Christmas gift, everyone seemed to have one.

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The first thing I was told in all but a few interviews was, "You know the folks didn't have much money." Hearing that all of us, other than a few, were in the same boat opened the flood gates and I started hearing stories.

My first victims were two fellows named Stan. One recalled getting a teddy bear, a bought one, that he slept with and carried everywhere. The second Stan was an only child who actually wanted for nothing. An early favorite was a sled he made easy use of on nearby Oyster hill. Naylor's Hill, Mt. Nebo, was a nearby favorite and always crowded.

Lucille got a treasured doll as did Catherine and Helen. Each doll came dressed her Sunday best but soon needed a change of clothes, which "grandmothers" took care of. Often, a new wardrobe for a doll was the Christmas present.

Mildred remembered a book she kept for many years. Activities aid Kathy got a longed-for toy accordion from her parents.

Volunteer Pat got a doll as well as a great little cupboard with doors that closed, all painted up. She still has it. Auerelia got a doll all dressed up with spare clothes.

On one farm where dollars were scarce as hen's teeth, a thoughtful dad found a way to give his seven sons a great present of something he could afford. Water. He filled a hollow behind their barn with it, grooming it up the best way he could for a skating rink. Today, a grateful son says from his wheelchair, "Hey, that was our pa. He always had something up his sleeve for us, except money."

Jerry, the son, claims dad made use of water the year 'round. He enlarged a hole in the creek for a swimmin' hole. They watched tadpoles hatch, took turns pulling bloodsuckers off each other. A fringe benefit was being the most popular spot in the neighborhood.

For Darla it was a cute pair of pajamas. The rings of red and white went all the way to her toes. Marlus was always cold, and with most of the houses having only center main floor heating stoves, the corners were always cold so she liked warm sweaters.

Vicki, in a wheelchair, joyfully remembers her favorite gift. It was a tiny walker. Over the years Vicki's walkers and wheelchairs have kept pace, grown with her. Only her smile stays the same.

When the telephone rang two weeks before Christmas at Helen's, Helen and sister knew it was from grandma in Dakota. If their folks answered with their sizes they knew they could look forward to a pair of long legged, fleece-lined underwear that grandma called a "union suit."

A specially important feature was the three-buttoned back door. A beautiful pair could be tools of torture by sewing those three button on too loose, or too tight. Each condition had its hazards. Even so, they were a favorite item at Christmas.

Lorraine will never forget her pet present of all time. It was the biggest package under the tree that year, too. It was a beautifully colored tin top more than a foot wide with pictures on it. A sort of shaft with a spring came out the top and when pumped made the top spin. Her brothers loved to make it go.

Do we, the children of yesteryear, envy the children of today with outlay of gifts? Nope, not one iota we don't. Homemade presents are durable. Even young children somehow feel this concrete evidence of love that goes into each gift.

Our hope is that the youngster of today can recall what they got this Christmas three-fourths of a century from now.

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