Reflections: The Toys of Christmas


By Evelyn Long - Contributing Columnist

Toys and Christmas just go together like peanut butter and jelly or ham and eggs.

Growing up in The Great Depression years, I remember how excited my sisters and I were when the “Wishbook” catalog came in the mail weeks before Christmas.

How we would dream — “I want this doll,” “I want this play house,” “I want the scooter,” “I want a real life kitchen cabinet,” etc.

Money was very scarce, but our parents made sure we had a Christmas. In the late 1930s, when it was really bleak because the family had so much illness with doctor bills, etc., a group of employees where my father worked went together and purchased dolls to be placed under our tree.

We were not aware of this for many years.

My sisters and I loved playing Old Maid, Rook, Authors, and other card games that were given to us. Santa made sure we weren’t missed, and we have fond memories of those Christmas holidays. Even the brown paper bags filled with hard candies, chocolate-filled Santas and an orange given to us following the Sunday School programs were meaningful.

Looking back at some Christmas gifts offered at county business places: Sames and Cook Hardware, in 1936 offered sleds for $1.29 to $2.39 with a Streamlined Sled for $3.29. Wagons for little tots for 98 cents, a Ben Hur bicycle for $23.79 and a Velocipede, streamlined, for $5.95. Pictured in that ad is what looks to me like a tricycle! Rubber and Electric Sales Co, Mount Gilead, was advertising “Big, Husky Pull toys for Husky Little Boys” at $1.19 in a 1945 ad.

A 1938 Cahoon’s ad offered “Drink and Wet Dolls” at 25 cents and “Dressed Dolls” from 10 cents to $2.98. Cap Pistols could be purchased for ten cents to 25 cents and a Chinese Checkers game was 50 cents. One could purchase for 25 cents, a pack of marbles.

When we didn’t know what to purchase for someone, handkerchiefs would save the day. They could be purchased for under $1 in nice cardboard holders. I think somewhere I still have handkerchiefs given to me by my piano students.

Sterling Store replaced Cahoon’s and in 1959 offered play nurse, play doctor and cosmetic kits for $1.98 to $2.98 and automatic bowling pin setter for $5.95.

I remember my sons were big fans of Tonka toys in the 1950 and 1960s. Of course, trains set up on tracks in the living room were considered the epitome of toy gifts. Kids and toys go together and always will.

70 years ago, December, 1947: Canon Orville E. Watson, 90, oldest living graduate of Cardington High School, celebrated his birthday December 1. He received congratulatory messages from all parts of the world. Canon Watson had lived at Kenyon College in Knox County since 1903. He had graduated from CHS in 1877.

Local hunters who shot deer during the Pennsylvania season were Harold Long, Robert Dutt, Mr. and Mrs. Earl Clements, Jacob Click, James Long and Harold Faust.

60 years ago, December 1957: Paul A.Richeson of Cardington, was sworn in a the judge of the newly formed Morrow County Court. The new court, approved by voters. had county wide jurisdiction and replaced Justice of the Peace Court.

By Evelyn Long

Contributing Columnist

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