December 19, 2014

Advent Calendar of Christmas Memories – Religious Services

1821 Steele Street 1950's



 

The Will and Josie Yates House – Olympia, Washington

My family, except for my Grandma Josie, were not the church going type.  In fact, I don’t think I ever attended a church service of any kind with either of my parents.  I did love to spend the night with my Yates grandparents on Christmas Eve though, and early in the morning on Christmas Day Grandma and I would walk down to the church nearby to their holiday services.  If the weather was bad Grandpa probably drove us down there and picked us up. Grandpa never went to church with us either.

I don’t know how Grandma accomplished it, but after we got home from church she would change her clothes, put on her ever present apron and tackle the cooking of Christmas dinner. I think the Christmas spirit she received at the church services had a lot to do with it.

The turkey had been prepared and put in the oven early that morning as a combined effort by both Grandma and Grandpa. I remember one year Grandma forgot to turn on the oven and dinner was a little “late”.  Even though I didn’t do any of the cooking, I did the little things I knew would make Grandma happy, like dusting under the dining room table, getting out the china and silver and setting that table, and unearthing her “special” dishes from the cupboard she liked to use as serving pieces.

One I especially loved was the footed crystal dish she used to for cranberry sauce.  We always had olives and pickles (and Grandma would sneak a drink of the olive juice :::ick:::) and she would make yeast rolls from scratch.  The table cloth was always a white linen damask which of course would invariably get something spilled on it like gravy or cranberries.

Before we would begin eating, either Grandpa or Grandpa would say the blessing, thanking God for the wonderfully cooked meal, the bounty that was before us, and for those who were there to celebrate the day.

I think the funniest ‘tradition’ we had during Christmas dinner was when we would be in the full throes of eating and Grandpa would reach under the table to his left and pinch Grandma’s knee.  She’d give out a loud squeal and say, “Oh Daddy!” and then giggle till she lost her breath. Grandpa thought it was great fun, and obviously it was memorable for Dave and I too.

I’m participating in the Advent Calendar of Christmas Memories 2010 sponsored by Thomas MacEntee of GeneaBloggers fame.  Won’t you join us as we blog about our memories through the month of December?

You might also like to read:

Advent Calendar of Christmas Memories 2010: The Tree

Advent Calendar of Christmas Memories 2010 – Holiday Foods

Advent Calendar of Christmas Memories 2010 – Christmas Cards

Advent Calendar of Christmas Memories: Outdoor Decorations

Advent Calendar of Christmas Memories – Santa Claus

Advent Calendar of Christmas Memories – Fruitcake

Advent Calendar of Christmas Memories – Stockings and Shopping



Advent Calendar of Christmas Memories – Stockings and Shopping

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This is going to be a combined post for two different reasons. One is that I am so late in the day for the Christmas Stockings challenge; and two, because my recollection has to do with both topics. :-D


Stockings and Shopping circa 1975

When our son Greg was around four years old his dad took him Christmas shopping for a gift for me. We were living in Clinton, Iowa at the time and it could be mighty cold during the holiday season.  Jim and Greg were gone for a good long time and I was hoping they had a good time shopping. I was in the kitchen when the two of them came through the back door.

Greg was clearly excited and yet obviously didn’t grasp the meaning Christmas, secrets and gifts because as he walked in the door pulling off his gloves, coat and boots he yelled out to me, “Mom! We went shopping for a Christmas present for you and we got knee socks!”

I’m participating in the Advent Calendar of Christmas Memories 2010 sponsored by Thomas MacEntee of GeneaBloggers fame.  Won’t you join us as we blog about our memories through the month of December?

You might also like to read:

Advent Calendar of Christmas Memories 2010: The Tree

Advent Calendar of Christmas Memories 2010 – Holiday Foods

Advent Calendar of Christmas Memories 2010 – Christmas Cards

Advent Calendar of Christmas Memories: Outdoor Decorations

Advent Calendar of Christmas Memories – Santa Claus

Advent Calendar of Christmas Memories – Fruitcake

Advent Calendar of Christmas Memories – Fruitcake

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If you live near someone long enough, eventually you will share recipes. It’s just part of being neighbors and I’m happy to say that’s what’s happened to be throughout my married life.  My mother never made fruitcake and as far as I know, none of my family exchanged them either.

Way back in the mid 1970’s we lived in Clinton, Iowa and our neighbors were Hazel and Carman Eckman.  Hazel was always baking cookies, cakes and desserts of some kind. I’d go over and have coffee with her some days and so I got the benefit of sharing the fruits of her labors.

A recipe Hazel gave me was for Unbaked Fruitcake. It sounds funny, but it tasted pretty good! (There’s nothing in it to harm you if it’s not baked)


No Bake Fruitcake

1 qt. chopped shelled pecans             1 box seedless raisins

1 – 10 oz bottle of marchino cherries, drained

1 C. evaporated milk          1/2 pound vanilla wafers

1/2 pound graham crackers

Combine all ingredients and press with spoon into an 8 X 8 inch pan lined with wax paper. Chill until set. Serves 4

I’m participating in the Advent Calendar of Christmas Memories 2010 sponsored by Thomas MacEntee of GeneaBloggers fame.  Won’t you join us as we blog about our memories through the month of December?

You might also like to read:

Advent Calendar of Christmas Memories 2010: The Tree

Advent Calendar of Christmas Memories 2010 – Holiday Foods

Advent Calendar of Christmas Memories 2010 – Christmas Cards

Advent Calendar of Christmas Memories: Outdoor Decorations

Advent Calendar of Christmas Memories – Santa Claus

Advent Calendar of Christmas Memories – Santa Claus

Will Yates Santa Holly

Did You Sit On This Santa’s Lap?

We had our very own Santa Claus in our family…my Grandpa Will Yates of Olympia, WA.  After he was retired he worked at Montgomery Ward in Olympia during the Christmas season as their Santa Claus. He was perfect (in my opinion) for the job because he had a naturally fat tummy, a perfect Santa-like nose and he loved kids.

If you had your picture taken with Santa at Montgomery Ward during the 1950’s It may have been my Grandpa. If you have pictures to share, I’d love to see them!

My personal story about Grandpa playing Santa will show you how savvy I was, even at a young age. My parents took me to “Monkey” Ward and had me sit on Santa’s lap to tell him what I wanted for Christmas. I had been sitting on that same lap for many years and I knew it was my grandpa. I never said a word that I knew it was him because I knew it would spoil it for the other kids.  I think my parent’s were pretty proud of me that kept “the secret”.

It wasn’t until about 10 years ago I found out that Grandpa’s first wife, Minnie Smith Yates liked to play Santa too.  I think it might have been when she lived in Missouri as a young woman, but my cousin Allene Moore Chapin told me that she remembered Grandma Minnie dressing up as Santa when she was a young girl.  It really gave me yet another view of my grandma and that she had a playful side.

I’m participating in the Advent Calendar of Christmas Memories 2010 sponsored by Thomas MacEntee of GeneaBloggers fame.  Won’t you join us as we blog about our memories through the month of December?

You might also like to read:

Advent Calendar of Christmas Memories 2010: The Tree

Advent Calendar of Christmas Memories 2010 – Holiday Foods

Advent Calendar of Christmas Memories 2010 – Christmas Cards

Advent Calendar of Christmas Memories: Outdoor Decorations

 

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