January 07, 2014|
2013 passed by so very quickly. During December, I heard not only family and friends talking about how time is flying by, but patrons at the Historical Center as well. Not only were the older people saying that time these days seems to pass by too quickly, but much younger people were saying this also. Getting together with family and possibly looking at old photo albums or thinking about memories of days gone by tends to make us realize that a new year comes in quicker and much quieter than it used to.
Old photographs or photo albums can be fun to look through. Some photos can be awkward for the subject, but can even be downright funny. Remember when the family used to go to grandmother’s house (and grandpa’s, too, although it was always called grandmother’s house) for Easter, Thanksgiving and Christmas, and sometimes for birthdays? On all these occasions family photographs were taken. Some of the most hilarious photos were of the children who didn’t want their pictures taken, and they were crying or making faces or even hiding their faces from the camera.
Back in those days, families wore outfits to match or sometimes were given matching outfits for the occasion. Perhaps you came across one of those photos with all of the men in pink shirts and matching ties, while the women all had on pantsuits to match in a plaid or paisley, but certainly they matched the shirts and/or ties. Then, there were the pajama photos where the entire family had on matching pajamas or the men had on pajamas while the women and girls had on the flannel gowns to match them. One may cringe now, but back then this was the style for Christmas photos.
As has been said, all the family would gather at grandmother’s house. Grandmother and grandfather probably had great grandchildren at these gatherings, and it was such fun to play games and spend time with them. However, the families involved would probably have to eat, open presents and leave to rush to another grandparents’ home to see them on the big day. Now, we are the next generation, the oldest generation, and celebrations and occasions are held at our own homes. Children have grown up, grandchildren have grown up, and they are now parents themselves. It is at this time that one does sit, talk, and remember times gone by - happy times, sad times, times full of memories.
Many of us have changed how presents are given. Small children are still remembered at times, but many adults and teens realize they are very blessed and do not need anything else material in their day to day lives. So, children or teens may decide to give to or help with a food pantry, a clothes closet, or with gifts for small children who would not otherwise get anything from Santa. Our family has done this with our children, and they looked forward to buying, wrapping, and then delivering these packages. Adults may decide to make a donation to an organization or church in honor of or in memory of a family member or friend who was involved with the organization.
Some people would rather put presents under the tree to unwrap on Christmas morning and that is fine. Whatever you do or however you choose to do it is your family tradition now, a tradition that you started, and which will continue until the next generation comes along and takes charge. Packages under the tree could be new or sentimental ones. The old wooden handled fork that grandmother used to turn meat in the frying pan, the butter mold and the antique round butter dish, a tool that grandfather let you use to help with a project, and a special tin photograph of great grandfather in his Civil War uniform have been special gifts. An old bowl and pitcher set whose bowl was used to sit the babies of the family in to take a photo, a porcelain shaving mug of grandfather’s, a felt Christmas tree pin with sequins made by great grandmother, a quilt that was quilted many years ago when I was born, a mourning bonnet and framed picture of great-great grandmother…all of these are very precious and are treasures that can be passed along to younger family members just as grandmother, grandfather and my aunt passed them along to this generation. We are very lucky to have these gifts that once belonged to our ancestors. We are thankful that our family has been close enough even though living in several different states to be together for quite a few celebrations, We are very blessed to be able to give and to share with others during the holidays.
Changes? Yes, certainly there have been changes over the years, but there have been lots of good memories to share with the younger generations, to make them laugh and to let them know that we were happy and loud little ones in an earlier time…loud enough for grandfather to completely turn off his hearing aid!
Happy New Year from Bassett Historical Center!