Grandma Morse's Christmas Memory
I was the third child born into a family that would grow to seven children. Of course we never lacked for someone to play with (or squabble with!). We did have much fun, but during the Great Depression days there was little money and slim pickins' at times. It is understandable that one Christmas memory is etched in my mind. Somehow at that particular Christmas, Daddy had enough money to give each of us $5.00 to do our Christmas shopping, so off to town my sisters and I went. Full of excitement we climbed Lyons' Hill in the blustery December cold, making our way to the bus stop. Arriving in town we went directly to McCrory's 5 and 10*, where, among other things, we were thrilled to purchase "Blue Waltz" perfume, coloring books, and cut-out dolls. It was so much fun on Christmas Day to be able to give to each other these small gifts which were actually "big" in our hearts and minds for many years to come!
*J. G. McCrory the founder of McCrory's 5 and 10 stores can actually be found on the paternal side of my family tree. His paternal grandfather is my 5th great-grandfather.
Grandpa Morse's Christmas Memories
As a child born into a large family during the Great Depression, I'm sure it was a huge effort for my parents just to provide food on the table to keep their growing children going. So it was not surprising that a happy memory I have always carried in my mind is the Christmas that Aunt Inez sent us a large bag of hard candies and big crate of oranges, both which were delicious treats for my brothers and sisters and me. How excited we were to get this special gift in the midst of our needy period of life! It is no wonder I have always remembered Aunt Inez as a wealthy woman! To this day I really wonder if she was as rich as I picture her in my mind's eye.
It was customary in our Morse home to wait until Christmas Eve to decorate the Christmas tree. When I was nine years old, the December days seemed to be speeding by and since I had seen no sign of a Christmas tree around the house, inside or out, I thought somebody should do something about the "problem", so why not me? Without mentioning my intentions to anyone, I decided to take my father's ax and saw and trudge to the woods behind our house, where there were many beautifully shaped cedar trees. I looked around and found just the perfect tree, with ax and saw I cut it down and dragged it home to surprise Mother not knowing I was the one to be surprised. With a forlorn look on her face, Mother took one look at the tree and exclaimed, 'Vernon, we can't have that tree in the house; cedar trees bring bad luck!' Now I was the one with a forlorn look on my face as I pulled the treasured tree out the kitchen door! Of course, right on schedule, the family did have a nice tree to decorate on Christmas Eve though we didn't use the one I chose.