Thursday, December 17, 2020

Stupendous Mega-Post: Merry Christmas from 1960!

A few days ago I came across and scanned an end-of-year letter written by Mom regarding the Christmas holidays of 1960.

... And I was amazed to realize the many tendrils this one Christmas Day has spread, even to the present-day!

Read the second paragraph, "Mark Decides to Return Gift."
In this photo from that day, Big Brother Robert is at the left; center is Big Sister Sue, while I'm lounging off to the right.  Excepting the board-game box, those things all over the rug at Sue's feet are the blocks Mom mentions.  Already you can see I don't like picking them up!

However, I didn't return the blocks to Santa, I kept them.  26 years later, they were played with:
Yes, that's our son Matthew the Engineer, in 1986, pointing out what he'd built with those Playskool blocks.
And 30 years AFTER THAT, in 2016, our grandson Andrew is a great builder too.
And what the Duffle Bag o'Blocks looks like SIXTY YEARS after that glorious morning, awaiting more generations of play!

At the bottom of the first column on page one, read "Music Man Memories."  You'll see that I didn't make this Tulsa trip -- I was spending the night across the street at the Hefners' (story on next page of the note) -- but please notice mention of "the new radio" which kept them entertained on the drive.  No, the car DID NOT have a built-in radio.  This was a portable GE "eight transistor" whose home, as I grew up, was in the kitchen playing KVOO.
It's been in our attic for a few decades and is a little the worse for wear.  But what magic it brought into our home as I was growing up!

At the top of page one on the right, read the paragraph "Christmas Eve Call."  I do not remember the visit with the Barbees, but the later reference to "the 'Christmas story' read by Mr A" refers to a story by Sterling North, "The Birthday of Little Jesus."  The Tulsa World ran it in their Sunday edition of December 21, 1952.  It was printed in many newspapers in the early 1950s.

It became a tradition, before I came along, for Dad to read the story on Christmas Eve.  Sadly, after a couple of years, our copy of the paper was lost.  Mom, go-getter that she was, wrote to the World asking if she could buy another copy.  In the mail came the World's own file copy, with a note saying that the story would be better off in our hands than in their files.

It so happens that in 1981, at Big Bro Robert's house, Dad let me record the story.  Above is the CD front art I cobbled together later.  Listening to the recording is a magical trip through time!

NOW ... Read over the paragraph on page two headed "A Visit with Santa."  As you'll read, my best friend Tom Hefner went to the party, at which we received stick horses.
This photo from a few months later shows us cowboys (Tommy on left, I'm at the right) with our trusty steeds.

The following paragraph, "Alfreds Entertain," explains the following photo.
Sue's at the left edge; then Mike McCloud.  I've got my hands raised and my eyes closed.  Robert's behind, and Patsy McCloud is at the right.  Evidently I picked up the blocks!

Page 2's mention of discovering the Bartlesville Public Library opens another cavern of memories ... but I will only report that I wanted to read Stone Soup because the above edition was read aloud to us by Captain Kangaroo.  (PS one of the greatest thrills of my life was calling in to a radio talk show in the 1980s and thanking Bob Keeshan over the phone for his immeasurable contribution to the lives of our generation!)
Here's another photo of my Christmas loot.  In the background is a very cool toy, a target game featuring Quick Draw McGraw and Baba Louie.  I don't have it any more (believe it or not!), but it looked like this:
If I recall correctly, the thing went back and forth.  If you hit the pasteboard cutout, it reversed direction ... maybe.

Well, that's the end of this Stupendous Mega-Post.  I hope it tickled a little nostalgia or warm feelings.

See you back here on Monday, January 4, 2021!

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