I don’t remember my first Christmas due to the fact that it occurred just 24 days after I was born. My folks told me they bought a live Christmas tree to plant in the back yard.
Somewhere I have a photo of me about three years old standing by that tree. That house sat on a small back yard and I’m thinking if it were still there now and 81 years old, it would take up most of that yard.
My dad worked at Firestone Tire from 1920 to 1963 and I can remember his taking me and my sister, just two years younger, to the plant for a Christmas party each year. We always came home with a game of some sort or other.
When I was 10 years old, we moved from the Kenmore community to just four miles north of there to Firestone Park. I’m sure we had stopped going to kiddie Christmas parties at Firestone several years before this.
This new house had a small parlor next to the living room, all windows. This is where our Christmas tree went thereafter. Normally in winter, the glass doors to this parlor were closed due to no heat in there, but at Christmas they were left open.
The Methodist church was just up the street, just across from the elementary school. Daddy often worked on Sundays, mother never learned to drive, so we walked. I would say it was like going from the (Cary) courthouse up to Huddleston’s Florist. My future in-laws were among the charter members.
The bus stop was just five houses up the street from us, with a little island in the road where you stood to get it. If memory serves, it was probably only 25 minutes to downtown Akron. There were two major department stores, Polsky’s and O’Neill’s. Back then, department stores went all out to decorate windows along he street and daddy would take us each year.
The house sat back a good 80 feet from the street and there was a concrete walkway from the house down to the sidewalk. In winter, it iced over quite nicely, and coming down it on a sled was indeed memorable.
Of course if you didn’t turn the sled when you hit the sidewalk you would end up in the street with occasional oncoming traffic so you had to be alert. Not to mention, that the whole time you were out there, your mother was standing just inside the hallway door making sure you turned that sled at the right place at the right time.
She would also be standing there in summer when you were rolling down on a bike – same rules applied, turn the bike at the same place for the same reason.
My mother was raised in a coal-mining town by the Ohio River which would threaten to flood them out occasionally and my dad was raised on a small farm probably a 80 miles north of there and had to ride a horse to get to school, but you would never know this by the warm family Christmas’ they gave my sister and I.