Tuesday, December 6, 2005

Those Old Time Christmases!

Grandma Smith used to make Christmas so much fun for all of us. She always really got into the spirit of the holiday. There are years of trees, cooking and gifts to remember. What a legacy. The only thing I didn’t like was having to go out into the cold and stand in line to see Santa. Price used to have Santa show up in the evening. Garth, David and I would get warm clothes on and stand there waiting for a bag of candy and a chance to sit on Santa’s lap. I told Aunt Rene one year that the line standing was over-rated. I would just as soon write Santa a letter and buy my own candy (with money one of them gave
me, of course.) But we kept up the tradition until we got too old. 

Now the tree was something else. We used to go to a tree lot and pick out two trees, one for the Smith house and one for the Childs house. Then Aunt Renee and Grandma would MAKE tree stands and the decorating would begin. I always loved that. At LHT’s house, they usually cut their own tree. We may have done that once or twice, but not often. LHT’s family did it every year. That is why, I suppose, we used to do it as well. I hope each of you are making wonderful memories of this Christmas for your families to remember as they get to be Dad’s and my age. 

When Grandma Smith was a little girl, they used to look forward to an Orange, some peaked chocolates and some hard tack in their Christmas sock each year. Great Great-Grandma Wilson (She was a Pritchett and was Great-Grandpa’s mother. Her first husband was murdered for his money, kept in a wall safe and she remarried.), ran a boarding house and was famed for her cooking. She would usually have the family at her home for Christmas dinner, which Great-Grandmother Mina would help fix. She worked for her mother-in-law in the boarding house.

There were aunts, uncles and cousins at the dinners and there was always a lot of fun and teasing. Grandma Smith had an Aunt Afton, about her age, who was G-G-Grandma Wilson’s youngest child. G-G-Grandma Wilson would always ask Grandma Smith what she wanted for Christmas and then she would get the same thing for both girls. It was, quite often, a doll but could be something else like a dress or shoes.Whatever, there were always two. They would be different colors, usually, but were always the same gift.

When Grandma Smith was teaching in Idaho those first couple of years, she would remember winters as fun times with fellow teachers. All were single. There were a couple of single guys who liked to come to enjoy desserts at the women’s dorm or apartment. One of the things they liked, when it snowed, was fresh snow which was scooped into a clean dishpan, then served covered with cream, vanilla and sugar. Another favorite was Grandma’s divinity. I have included that recipe this month. Think of how much I loved her when you make it! They also made panache and fudge. Those girls could not have visits beyond a certain time of the night and they must always be all together. Remember, she graduated from Brigham Young Academy in 1910. Times were much different then.

She was a talented dancer as well as a basketball player and track team member. She lettered at BYA and received one of the first block Y’s given to a woman. When she was dancing ballet, she was selected to be one of two girls to dance with the famous Pavlova when she appeared in Provo. She and the other girl were both offered jobs as back-up dancers. The other girl accepted but G-Grandpa Pritchett would not let her take the offer. The other girl danced for years and then taught ballet in New York City. Grandma Smith went on to graduate and became a teacher. She would wonder, from time to time, what would have happened had she been allowed to accept. She always ended up saying she wouldn’t change anything so it must have been for the best.

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