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Tuesday, December 14, 2010


I'm getting to be old enough so that I often hear myself saying, "When I was a boy...." because so many things have changed since then. Seeing these Christmas trees stacked up for sale outside a local supermarket triggered one of these long-forgotten memories. I remember going out into the bush with my father to get our Christmas tree. At the time (around 1946/47), we lived on the prairies and it must have been a bit of a drive to find some pine forest. Around where we lived it was pretty much just grassland. I suspect that was the way that most people in Canada got their Christmas trees in those days, tramping around in the snow with an ax in hand. Another feature of Christmas was after the tree was brought home. Then last year's lights had to be repaired. These were small screw-in incandescent bulbs, not like the modern leds, and the strings were often wired in series. Finding and replacing the burnt out bulbs and getting the strings working was an evening's work. My older brother, a much more logical and methodical child than I, was very good at this. While I'm waxing nostalgic I'll include this school class photo taken a few years later (maybe 1949) around Christmas - there's a decorated tree in the background. This photo, particularly the way I'm dressed (felt boots for the snow season and the knee stockings and breeches that were always worn with them), brings back a lot of memories also. I'm the leftmost little guy in the front row.


JoJo said...

How adorable are you?! I didn't know you were from the prairies.

I do remember having to untangle and test the outdoor and tree lights for my dad, who'd just dump them unceremoniously in the shed after the season.

These days too many people complain about Christmas trees in the schools. It's really sad that classrooms can't decorate for any holiday without some parent or group complaining about it. A few years ago the Tacoma Wiccan community complained about Halloween witch decorations depicting witches as old and ugly. Give me a break.

Dean Lewis said...

Love it, .. nostalgia is great. My Mum still has a foot-high rubber Santa to go under the tree that dates to the early fifties.

And, uh-huh, I could've picked you out from the group, seriously.
What community was that?

Benjamin Madison said...

Thanks JoJo - blush. Yes, I suppose no more Christmas in the schools but back in those days school was a pretty WASP affair - as you can see by the ethnic make-up of this class.

Dean - I'm surprised you think you could have picked me out - I had a hard time myself when I first saw this photo after many years. I am pretty sure the class photo was taken in Saskatoon when I was in Grade 1 or 2.

Dean Lewis said...

Really, I see you in there,definitely.
I have a very similiar pic from kindergarten in 1962, before colour 'took off' lol.

I lived in S'toon for awhile in the 80's and have very fond memories of it.

Andy said...

Ditto me except I lived in a city and we bought our tree. Judging from the writing on the blackboard we learned to read from the same book... Dick and Jane. Don't forget the dog Spot. Merry Christmas!