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I remember when I was about 10 years old (ca. 1936), going to the woods with my dad to pick out a Christmas tree. He chopped it down with an axe and we drug it home to decorate.
I got to help put on the decorations and since we didn't have any electricity, I thought it would be nice to put candles on the tree for lights. The rest of the story is very well told in the hometown newspaper, "The People's Defender", Manchester, Adams, Ohio.
Home Damaged By Fire
Betty Lou Polly Driver
Following the death of my mother in 1916, my father placed me in the Evangelical Lutheran Children's Home in St. Louis, MO for several years until he was able to bring my sisters and I back home in 1920. In 1919, my last Christmas in the Children's Home, the following incident occurred.
Celebrating Christmas, like most things there, followed the German customs. A large fresh tree was brought into the parlor several days before Christmas. On Christmas Eve, after we children were sent to bed, the staff would decorate the tree. The next morning, we would file downstairs to see the tree and receive a stocking full of candy and fruit. The Christmas of 1919, Several of my friends and I decided that we wanted to see if it really was Kris Kringle who created the magic. After lights out, we snuck down the stairs. We could see a light on in the parlor and hear the voices of the staff, but the heavy double doors were closed, baring a clear view. Undaunted, we boys devised a plan. A chair was found and placed in front of the door. I was elected and was soon on the chair stretching to peer through the transom above the door. In excited whispers I informed my cohorts in crime of what we had already suspected. It was indeed the staff and not Santa Claus that decorated the tree and brought the presents. Alas, we grew careless, and as our whispers became louder and it was only a matter of time, before someone overheard us and looked up to see my face peering through the transom. Quickly, I jumped down and we ran for cover leaving the chair behind. The next morning as it was every Christmas, stockings were hung on nails in the hallway just outside of the dining room. A childs name was placed over the each nail. As the children filed into breakfast they took their sock down. Everyone had a orange, an apple and two pieces of candy except me. I had two lumps of coal! I learned the hard way, that it is not wise to be so inquisitive that you regret it later!
George James Driver Jr. 1912- 1995
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