Yes, you read the title correctly……Christmas 1912! On Tuesday, I went to a monthly event called “Tea with Dee” at the Hoag Library in Albion. The first Tuesday of each month at noon, Delia Robinson, the Gaines Town Historian, gives a talk and serves tea. Her talks are usually focused on a historical female figure from our area and are so interesting……if you haven’t attended one of her sessions, you really should! She is an amazing speaker and finds the most interesting and entertaining facts on the subjects of her talks. Anyway, as usual, I digress…… This month, she didn’t talk about a person, she talked about how Christmas was 100 years ago – in 1912. As usual, it was very interesting and entertaining, but this particular talk also brought back so many memories for me! No……I wasn’t actually here in 1912, so don’t go there! There were several things she mentioned, though, that were still around when I was growing up in Albion and I found myself thinking of them the rest of the day.
She researched the local newspapers from December 1912 and read us tidbits of information and advertisements from that time. She mentioned Dugan’s Shoe Store. I remember going to Dugan’s for my shoes. It was an experience, not like going to a shoe store today where you pretty much help yourself and have to know what size you wear. When I was little, it was a big deal to go in, look at the displays, and then sit down and be waited on – like you see in the movies! The salesman would measure my feet with those big metal foot measurer thingys and bring out a selection of boxes in the perfect size for me to try on. He would help me put them on, tie them up, and have me walk around in them to see how they felt! I remember getting my first tap shoes there and my shiny black patent leather “Mary Jane’s” and my beloved saddle shoes! I would bet the farm that the saddle shoes in this photo came from Dugan’s!
She also mentioned sale ads for Landauer’s Department Store! I remember Landauer’s, too! I graduated with John Landauer, who sadly is no longer with us, and thinking of the store always makes me think of John. My Great Aunt Margaret worked at Landauer’s for several years, so when we shopped there, chances were that Aunt Margaret would be our sales lady. Landauer’s was a little pricey for us to shop there on a regular basis, so it was a real treat to go there for something special. Mom would always take us for one or two special outfits for back to school. It was the best place to go, if you needed a wedding, shower, or baby gift. Mom would get her “unmentionables” there. And, it was the only place in town where you could get official Girl Scout and Boy Scout uniforms and accessories! Yes, it was a special adventure to shop at Landauer’s – when you bought something, they wouldn’t roll it up and put it in a bag, they would fold it beautifully and put it in a box with tissue paper!
Dee talked about Christmas ornaments from 1912 – there were no advertisements for store-bought ornaments because people made their own, but there were articles in the ladies magazines of the time with tips and ideas for making new and different decorations. I instantly remembered the construction paper chains we made as children that Mom would hang proudly on our tree! People now would think that is tacky, but we thought it was wonderful!!! 🙂 One particular tip she read to us out of a magazine sounded like a great idea to me! They suggested you put a small white tree (they told how to make a real tree white and sparkly, but you could use an artificial white tree, now) as the center piece for a holiday table and to decorate it with small wrapped gifts for each of the dinner guests and to attach a ribbon from the gift to the place card at each guest’s place setting around the table. What a great idea!!!!!
She talked about the recipes of the time, as well…….some that might still go over well today…..some that didn’t sound like they’d be very popular if served in 2012! 🙂
So, I got a lot out of this month’s talk and am still thinking about the wonderful memories it sparked and the ideas it put in my head for the holiday season! And, as usual, I am looking forward to next month’s topic! Come join us – you’ll surely enjoy it!