The following story is from Nettie Rothrock Gentry (2008).
I remember Christmas Eve 1944. My daddy had been in the war and when we came home from Granny and Grandaddy Rothrock's house on Christmas Eve we could see daddy standing in the living room. Home from the war just in time for Christmas. Another favorite memory of Christmas was always to go to Granny and Grandaddy's house. Then to Glendale Methodist Church for the children's Christmas Play. Sometimes it was a play and sometime it was all the children reciting a phase or poem. After that was over Santa Claus aka Raymond Alley would always come and give gifts from the tree to everyone in the congregation.
I am 71 years old but I have vivid memories of these and other Christmases in Glendale. Everyone in Glendale looked forward to caroling with the Glendale Baptist Church and stopping at the Pruitt house for hot chocolate. Merry Christmas to All! Nettie Rothrock Gentry
The next story is shared with us by Dr. Bobby Stephens (2008)
My memories of Christmas at Glendale include (1) our celebration at home, (2) our celebration at the Methodist Church, and (3) the mill company’s “gift” of a bag full of fruit and nuts.At HomeOur house was heated by a coal stove that was connected to the chimney by a round metal pipe. When stoked with coal both the stove and pipe would glow red for an hour or so after the fire was lighted. It is a wonder we did not set the house on fire! Our turkey (maybe it was a chicken) was placed in a pot and put on top of the stove. I remember on one occasion it was left there while we went to the evening service at the Methodist Church. That was probably safe because the fire was dying down and did not represent a hazard. But I remember as a child (10 or so) I worried about the house catching fire while we were at the Christmas service. Obviously, it never did.
The next morning we celebrated Santa’s arrival and searched the house for one surprise gift for each of the kids (June and me). I remember one Christmas my surprise gift was a black baby doll that I found hidden under my grandmother’s and mother’s sewing machine. To this day I still don’t know why I was given a baby doll. Odd as it may seem, I still treasure the memory of that Christmas morning.
I especially remember the Christmas of 1945. I was 10 years old. The war (WWII) was over with a clear and undisputed victory. My dad, a cousin, and three uncles would soon be marching home. Glendale’s Willburn Grizzle (a special friend of my mother) and Herman Warren (brother of my classmate Audrey Nell Warren) would not be coming home. They were killed in combat in Italy. There was an horrific ice storm that developed on Christmas Eve that downed trees and broke electric wires. We were without power for about two weeks. (We had no telephone.). The effect on us was minimal because we heated with coal and cooked over a kerosene stove. All the kids (black and white including me) played Army more intensely that Christmas than we ever had. Looking back, I think it had to do with the war ending and the excitement of playing in an ice storm. There are still two fox holes we dug that Christmas in the back yard of my mother’s house in Glendale.
At the Methodist ChurchThe service of preaching and music was followed by gifts being given out to the children of church members. There was always a brief Christmas play. I remember that during one of the plays the Christmas tree fell over. Everyone wanted to laugh, but nobody did. One family used the occasion to overload (in my opinion) their children with gifts. It got to the point of being ridiculous. Our family and others would have one gift for each other, but that family would have five or more gifts for each child. Anyhow, the children would be glad the service was over and we could go home and wait for Santa.
Mill Company’s Bag of GoodiesStarting sometime after WWII, the mill company would give out brown paper bags of fruit, nuts, and candy to all employees. I always felt, even as very young person, that this was a sort of “welfare” that we should not feel proud to accept.
This story is from Mary McKinney Teaster, the website manager (2008).
My Daddy, Bill McKinney, would have given his two daughters, Bobbie and Mary Lee anything in the world that he could, but he liked to tease us at Christmas time. He would tell us that we got too much under the tree and Santa couldn’t possibly bring us anything else on Christmas morning. He said he never got any toys. We would then ask him what he got in his stocking. His answer would be some nuts and maybe a dried up orange. SO one year, with the help of our Mother, Hilda, we fixed a surprise for his stocking. We peeled an orange and dried the peel in the oven. After putting them in a small box and wrapping it, we put the box in his stocking and nothing else. We could not wait for him to open it. He would go into his usual spiel about not getting anything for Christmas and on and on. Finally, he pulled out the box and opened it. We were all laughing and he tried his best not to even smile but he couldn’t do it. I think he knew then that we didn’t believe his story. So he quit telling it.
On Christmas Eve there was always the Christmas Pageant at the Baptist Church. One year I was picked to play “Mary”. I was so nervous but everything went off fine. After the play, we went home and dressed up real warm and went back for caroling. That was great fun. I rarely got to stay up so late or be outside at that time of night. We sang at several houses. I remember most being at Ola Hammett’s house because she was kin to me and I liked her very much. The last stop was the Pruitt’s and hot chocolate.
We went to Grandma and Pop McKinney’s for Christmas Dinner. During WWII, of my four uncles in service, someone would be there and I, usually, was not told they were coming. To hear someone in the hall and go to see a white Navy uniform was a thrill for me. I thought all my uncles were the most handsome men in the world. The picked me up and swung me around and I was happy as could be.
I don’t remember presents just the getting together with all the family. It was like a clan gathering in Scotland must have been, with all the Aunts and Uncles and cousins.
Clarence Crocker was the Manager of the Mill Store in the late 1940's and 1950's. He was in charge of the practice of giving Gift Bags of fruit, etc. to the mill employees at Christmas. he shares how this was done along with photographs at Christmas Gift Bags.
This web site has been started as a public service to share the story of Glendale. The web master and person to contact about putting information on the web site is Mary McKinney Teaster. Contact her at:
firstname.lastname@example.org or by telephone at (843) 873-8117. See more information about Mary and her Glendale connection at Mary McKinney Teaster.