November 25, 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 – 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 2010 – Food

Yates and Wilkerson families Nov 1973p

I realize that this isn’t exactly a Christmas photo, but it does show the house and room I remember best when it comes to Christmas.  Too bad no one thought to close the blinds so the flash didn’t look like the mother ship was landing in Grandma and Grandpa’s back yard!

That’s our son Greg sitting on his great grandpa Will Yates’ lap, with his cousin Eric Yates standing beside them.  You will probably deduce correctly that two different people took the pictures.  Dad took the one on the left, and Dave took the one on the right.

We were probably through with supper, and Grandma (with her apron still on) was finally sitting down to rest for a few minutes.  My brother Dave and I were having pumpkin pie, and if you look closely in the picture to the right you will see me being rude silly. The pictures would look pretty American Gothic-ish if it wasn’t for me and the mouth wide open and full of whipped cream. :D

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: The Tree

charliebrowntree

 

 

 

Advent Calendar of Christmas Memories 2010: The Tree

While others in the United States might have had a challenge in finding a Christmas tree, forced to buy them from lots, we were very fortunate to live here in Washington State where Douglas firs were very easy to come by.

We lived at the end of Dennis Street in Tumwater, and up until 1965 we had no houses anywhere near us. We were surrounded by a huge acreage that most likely had been a family farm at one time. The fields around us were cleared and I don’t even remember any tree stumps to speak of. Far behind us were some woods and it could have been from those trees, or the large firs to our west, where the seeds for the small Christmas-size trees in the fields were blown into the sandy loess soil waiting for us to harvest one each December.  I like to think of it as the Old Fuzzy Top effect.

Mom always called it “pestering” when my brother Dave and I would begin our annual campaign with the question, “When can we put up the tree?” No doubt, we didn’t really want the tree to go up so much as we wanted it to be there so we could have presents underneath it! Oh sure, we liked decorating our little tree (not quite Charlie Brown-ish, but sometimes small-ish in size) for the most part.

I think we had some commercial ornaments, and we’d always wind a string of lights or two around through the boughs, but we also had some hand crafted by Yates children artisans these aluminum foil decorated milk bottle caps too.  We’d beg Mom and Dad each year to buy a new package of silver tinsel and we had strict instructions to put it on one piece at a time.  As soon as Mom left the room we’d revert to rebellious heathens and toss it on the tree with wild abandon.  Hey, it looked artistic to us.

The tree was positioned in front of the living room window that faced east so that anyone coming up the road would see the lights at night and take notice of our earnest attempt to show our holiday spirit.  Our little tree was saying, “Hey, look at us, we have a tree 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?

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