Friday, December 18, 2009

Glimpses into the Past

One of my favorite parts of our weekly paper, the Gazette Journal, is the Glimpses into the Past column. Here you'll find excerpts of articles dating back as far as 100 years.

This week several interesting stories relating to Christmas were showcased as follows:

90 Years Ago
Thursday, December 18, 1919

"To the readers of the Gloucester Gazette: your supply of Christmas delicacies is not complete without some of the delicious Summerville pecans, and there is no present more acceptable to your friends than a package of these nuts. I can furnish them to you at a price of 50 cents a pound. Joseph Tabb, Gloucester, Va."

CBW's Unnecessary Remarks:
First of all, 50 cents a pound for anything sounds great, but more than that how wonderful and simple a gift of pecans would be. To be clear about how we pronounce the word pecan, it's PEEcan. PeCAHNS are grown in another universe country. Or at least another state. I'm going to have to stand firm on this statement even though it's liable to cause some grumblings even amongst locals. PEEcan.

80 Years Ago
Thursday, December 19, 1929

"Dear Santa Claus, My letter is late. I have been sick. Please bring me a pair of skates and a doll and a carriage and a pair of slippers and also oranges, apples, candy and fireworks. Remember all at my house and my teacher and a little orphan girl, Lewis. I am a little girl nine years old. God bless you, Santa. Nannie Sadler, Hudgins, Va."

CBW's Getting Ready to Show Her Age Remarks:
There was a time not so long ago when receiving oranges in one's stocking was considered a thrill. My mother told us about oranges at Christmas and how special they were, and we would sometimes get them in our stockings as children. Mrs. Noland of the Gloucester County Day School taught us to stick cloves into citrus fruits and adorn them with ribbons. They were fragrant and beautiful, and we used them as decorations. Oranges and Christmas go together for me, always have.

70 Years Ago
Thursday, December 21, 1939

"A community Christmas Eve program will be held Sunday at 4 p.m. at the Old Mill Skating Rink. The old familiar carols will be sung by a large choir."

CBW's Need to Say Over and Over Again How Much She Misses Roller Skating at the Old Mill:
Some of the greatest times of my life were spent at the Old Mill Skating Rink. Click here for more on that. My grandmother and her sisters skated there. My mother skated there. I went to birthday parties there. Kids did the hokey pokey and they turned themselves around there. But I never, ever, knew they sang Christmas carols there.

Something tells me the disco lights were not invented up and flashing during the Christmas sing-along, and nobody was playing crack the whip.

But that's just a guess on my part.


Grandma J said...

Little Nannie Sadler had quite the list for a depression era Christmas! Oranges were indeed a luxury in the days when everything was delivered by a slow boat or train. Rita said she craved them when she was pregnant. Living in New England meant they were not easy to come by in the winter.

Kate said...

Leave to me to Scrooge it up by noting that your date for the 70 years ago section is incorrect. Bah Humbug?

WV: nonsumf I don't spew nonsense, I deal in nonsumf!

Ann Marie said...

MY MOTHER SAYS peCAHN!!!! and also says WAH... as in WORLD WAH 2. she is a Yankee. Been here since she was 4 and still can't talk right. If you catch on a good day she still says CAH as in we are going up the road in the CAH. Ok enough.. before I lose my taste for my coffee.

I am not sure why this irritates me so but i can't stand to listen to her talk.. she sounds so... so.... so... I think I will stop there.

Oh the RINK.. THE SKATING RINK!!!!! Shoot the duck and skating backwards so you could slow skate with a boy who couldn't and POPCORN that got hung under your wheel!!!! I loved that place... so very much.

Thank you CBW the memory of that place was a GREAT Christmas gift.. and WHY DID THEY do the carols there.. weird huh?

Nannie Sadler had a kind like heart.. don't forget the orphan girl Lewis how sweet was that. And apparently Nannie is a nickname that was utilized here in the south (my aunt's nickname was Nannie and when I was born she actually wanted me to call her that.. my yankee mother didn't allow it) so I ended up calling her Aunt XXX but I like Nannie so much better.

*this post was in no way meaning to offend anyone above the mason dixon line. I love you all very very much.. except my mother.. hehehehehehe

Chesapeake Bay Woman said...

GJ-We need more Rita stories, I miss them. I'm sure you do too, esp. around this time of year.

Kate-Numbers and I are long-time enemies. Thank you - I fixed the year.

AM-Thank you for a laugh even before my eyes have unsealed from being asleep and also before any coffee. I had no idea your mother was from Up There (not that there's anything wrong with Up There!). But I will have to tell her next time I see her that she has the whole PEEcan thing wrong.

I'm off for my one and only day of Christmas shopping in downtown Denbigh and I am dreading it like the plague.

Serenity now.

Happy Friday!

Meg @ Soup Is Not A Finger Food said...

There's a running joke on my dad's side of the family about a bag of walnuts (whole, in the shell) at Christmastime. I should blog it... it started when my dad was little - all he wanted was a punching bag but SANTA thought he needed a bike, so under the tree was a bike and tied to it with a red ribbon was a bag of walnuts. He was so disappointed that he didn't get the punching bag that he moaned, "all I got for Christmas was a bag of walnuts!" Years later, he and his two sisters bought their mother (this is my Grandma Sara of whom I've fondly written) a new car for Christmas. She unwrapped the keys, then we led her out to the driveway where the car was waiting and tied to the steering wheel, with a red ribbon, was... a bag of walnuts.

I never understood the thing about oranges and Christmas. The band used to sell citrus fruits as a winter fundraiser, too... something luxurious about bringing them to the "North" from Florida I guess.

PEE-can pie is my FAY-vor-ite!

Ann Marie said...

I know I am probably wrong.. but didn't the orange thing start because during some WAH sometime fresh fruit was a special treat????

My grandmother hung 2347 Christmas stockings on her stair rail every year and the toe.. sure enough... orange.

Kate said...

On the pecan thing, I totally agree that PEEcan is correct and anybody who says different is no better than a bag of walnuts! :)

I remember putting cloves in oranges; one year my mom decided to put some natural christmas swag on the front of the house with fruits, pine boughs and such. Great idea until the local vermin discovered it! LOL

WV: psyna Oh geez, I'm not even going to try coming up with something clever for that one!

Daryl said...

Being from Up There (or up here, depending on where you are) I have to say two things ..

1) I do not have an accent; those other tea party peeps, the ones who actually tossed tea in to the HA-burr are the ones who talk funny.. not me

2) How is it except for CBM and CBF no one I met down there had an accent?

Oh and your post .. I love your asides ..

WV: reent ... see that's how people Up He-ya think people down they-a tawk .. how you'all say RENT .. REEent

Breezeway said...

Oh I wish they would reopen Old Mill Skating Rink. Just as it used to be, bumps in the wooden floor and all. There was a great bump on the side where the pinball games were where you could actually get a little jump! Loved the Hokie Pokie. Never sang Christmas Carols there though.
Daryl - didn't get to meet you, but if you don't have an accent, you probably wouldn't think anyone else does either. I think accents are a lot of fun, but I'm with Ann Marie, if you don't talk like US, you don't talk right! LOL!

big hair envy said...

I just added peeeeecans to my grocery list. Thanks for the reminder!!

My sisters and I always received an orange, a stick of peppermint candy, a peppermint patty and whole nuts in our stockings. We thought it was the best thing EVER!!

The Old Mill? Good times;)

Anonymous said...

we need to find a skating rink and have a reunion. Us "old folks" can take over the rink from those young ones that can probably skate circles around me now. I was thinking about that rink just the other day...what fun we had!!!

My Dad still puts nuts and an orange in the stockings he makes for us. It just wouldn't be Christmas without them.

I LOVE the glimpses from the past section. I do believe I have see a certain CBW mentioned in those glimpses.

Pecan trees....there used to be a pecan farm in Bohannon. You could go and get as many pecans as you wanted and just give them half of what you gathered. People would lay down sheets and climb the trees and shake them. I remember many a night cracking nuts....stained fingers and VERY sore fingers too!

I LOVE your photos...You capture Mathews in picture...everything special and captivating. Thank you!!!

Anonymous said...

Could little Nannie Sadler (who would be 89 now) of Hudgins be related to the people who have a house on our lane? How sweet! Was there an orphanage in Mathews? I've never met a girl named Lewis. LOL.

Middle Sis

ghostless said...

I just ran into Christmas hospitality...and from transplanted N.Y.'ers! at 10 a.m. I ended up drinking coffee and cognac after being flagged down because the woman recognized my logo on my truck as being new to the area and I must have horses. I was then directed into the driveway of a beautiful horse farm where I sat for 2 hours enjoying her and her husbands company, learning how they moved here 20 yrs ago, about their farm and the area, and drinking wonderful cognac and hot coffee by the fireside...and I don't drink!!! All this before going to Food Lion! Lovely people...I think I am going to love it here! Except I say chan pie not pee can...oh well maybe I will fit in one day!

Chesapeake Bay Woman said...

Meg-You definitely should tell that one in a blog, that's a good one. And if you want to perpetuate the joke, when you're here next take home some of my mother's walnuts, they're everywhere.

AM-You're still cracking me up with the mother's accent. See you this evening. You can pahk the cah in the driveway. Mine's pulled up in the yard.

Kate - that is something that would not have occurred to me, that critters would eat the decorations. Too funny.

Daryl - Carlton has an accent! A few of the Gwynn's Island Natives (in fact all of them) have accents. The problem is there are so many Come Heres they're mutating our local lingo. Not that there's anything wrong with Come Heres. Hello Ghostless! Welcome! (I believe I've set a new world record for exclamation points in a single comment.)

Breezeway-I would pay an arm and a leg for just one more night at the Old Mill. It is just so full of good memories and good times. Now it sits loaded with furniture (or something, but the last time I was up there it was furniture - the disco lights were still on the ceiling). Oh, how I loved that place. And the bumps on that exquisite wooden floor.

BHE-We had some whole nuts too, at Christmastime. Well, those were family members, but we also got the edible kind in our stockings too. Guarantee my mother will have a bowl full of whole nuts out on Christmas. Nobody eats them, but still.

MsSeabreeze-what a grand tradition your father is perpetuating. I'll go in with you on that renting the rink out thing. How would we do that? I'm serious. I"d do it. It wouldn't be the same without you driving the Pinto though. (And thank you for those kind words. Your visits here mean a great deal to me since you were a large part of my teenage years.)

Middle Sis - I reckon everyone named Sadler, Diggs, Hudgins, Owens, etc. is kin somehow or another, but perhaps we should ask Chesapeake Bay Father. OK, stop laughing. We'll ask CB Mother who is the only one who remembers anything. Re the Lewis girl, I took that to mean she was referencing her last name, but what do I know.

Ghostless - You have all the fun! Do you see how blog-worthy every day life is around here? Do you now understand why they could do a reality TV show here and never, ever, lack for fodder? (And if any potential reality TV scouts are reading, please, please contact me because I've got a gold mine of potential shows for you.) Next time you get kidnapped by cognac drinking strangers, please call me!
(p.s. I want you to stop by here during Christmas weekend if you're around.)

Happy Friday, Happy Weekend and Happy Chance of Snow for the Middle Peninsula of Virginia.

Anonymous said...

What a great post!

Oranges and Christmas DO go together. I always got them in my stocking, and my mother has a GIGANTIC majolica gardiniere that my great-grandmother used to fill with oranges during the holidays in the late 1800's early 1900's.

Daryl, Some of us may not have an accent when we're talking to YOU, but we do when we speak to each other.... I think we subconsciously translate ourselves into flat American-English when speaking to non-natives. My college room-mates (from Long Island and DC) used to gather around and listen to me talk to my parents on the phone, because apparently I lapsed into Mathews-ese when I talked to them but spoke plain English the rest of the time. They found the transition entertaining.

CBW -- my grandfather (in the late 1800's) attended school at Sommerville Academy taught by the Tabbs. One his school-mates was a descendant of Pocahontas. The school was only in the next county, 20-25 minutes away by car, but it was a boarding school, and he only came home a few times a year. We still have the little trunk he used to transport his belongings to and fro.


Meg @ Soup Is Not A Finger Food said...

I never knew I talked funny until a college classmate from Long Island pointed it out. Apparently, I was sporting a Central PA "accent" or using dialect that struck him as odd. After that I worked hard to sound vanilla.

Country Girl said...

Ok. I was just asking a co-worker today if she received oranges in her stocking as a young girl, like I did. We remembered it well. Oranges were special this time of year.

ghostless said...

How come I always got tangerines???

any as for accents, I don't have one until I get around horse people, then I/we have an accent and lingo all our own.

CBW before I got kidnapped I found a bunch of old old houses...sad some were falling down, but didn't have my camera with me...I will learn from the "master" to carry mine next time! maybe I will kidnap you along with a bottle of cognac and we can scout them out...cognac for after we drive of course!!!

my WV is furgo so before I type it in...I'll see if I am catching on the this....maybe we can furgo the house hunting and just hit the cognac!

Chesapeake Bay Woman said...

AMN-Oh how I love it when you contribute. It was just this sort of info I was hoping for when this blog was first considered. Thank you for sharing your stories. Now you need to write a post about the Pocahontas connection.

Meg - College has a way of shining the light on things like accents. You should be proud of yours and cling to it. I can't seem to resurrect mine, which was squashed in college too.

CG-Yes! Now the question becomes one of preserving the tradition of oranges for posterity.

Ghostless-It took me a while to learn that you never go anywhere without your camera. You never know when you might encounter a horse running down Haven Beach Road or an old house that needs attention. Can't wait to go househunting with you.

Noe Noe Girl...A Queen of all Trades. said...

i miss roller skating. and just so you know~i have disco skated in mexico. ok~ we'll talk about it over wine.