Reflections: Christmas shopping in the past


By Evelyn Long - Contributing Columnist

This column is titled Reflections for a reason. I find looking to the past is usually an interesting, sometimes striking contrast.

For instance, as a child growing up in the Depression years (yes, I’m over 50) we never heard the words Black Friday or Cyber Monday, ordering online. Online was where my mom hung our laundry.

People didn’t stand in long lines hours before a store opened when I was a youngster. Our parents purchased our gifts from a local store or the “wish” book, (catalog). We didn’t realize at our young age their limited funds but we, like all children, were excited Christmas morning to find what Santa had left.

My father was timekeeper with the State Highway Department and his salary was $125 a month; rent was $25. Looking back, I don’t know how they managed, but they did and I am forever grateful to have such loving parents who sacrificed in so many ways for their daughters.

As my own family grew we purchased their gifts from local stores, sometimes from a catalog but always made that one trip to Lazarus to visit Santa and see their seasonal displays. Never did we have to stand in line except for our sons to visit Santa.

If I were young again and raising my family, I might join those standing in lines, but today I do really appreciate the advantage of “going online,” on Cyber Monday, to make my purchases from the comfort of my home.

80 years ago, December, 1938: Construction on a new $40,000 annex to the courthouse began this month. It was the sixth New Deal construction project in the county to begin this year. Since the opening of hunting season, one case of Tularemia, or rabbit fever, had been reported by the Morrow County Health Dept. Persons were warned to wear gloves when dressing game.

70 years ago, December 1948: Recent high school graduates Dewey Yake, Merle Smith, Walter Herron, Walter Yake, Connie Rogers and Louis Levering comprised the Cardington Daredevils, a local basketball team.

60 years ago, December 1958: The Searchlight, the Cardington School newspaper focused on students of the month Douglas Slack and Linda Haycook. Linda had also won the County Prince of Peace Contest. Judy McElroy described her trip with four other cheerleaders to a basketball clinic at Bowling Green State University. Mt Gilead merchants running ads in this paper included Bill Soulier Plumbing, Morrow Electric Cooperative, The Peoples Bank, Linstedt and Ansley, Moore’s Store and the Peoples Bank.

50 years ago, December 1968: The Union Store, Mount Gilead, kept its toy department open until 9 pm six days a week. A new talking Barbie Fashion Doll cost $4.88, a Matchbox Build-A-Road set topped out at $5.44 and the game, “Operation,” cost parents $3.99. Mac’s Gulf Station on Gilead Street, Cardington, sold the Walt Disney magazine for 25 cents and the Walt Disney Jungle Rock record for $1.

By Evelyn Long

Contributing Columnist

Reach us at

Reach us at