Reflections: Christmas a time of good will

By Evelyn Long - Contributing Columnist

We all enjoy the Christmas holiday in so many ways from the music and worship services, to the special foods, gifts and parties.

Sadly, there has been and continues to be a negative side. For instance, reading a news item in the December 15, 1932 issue of the Morrow County Sentinel titled “Human Suffering in County Cited by Relief Worker.”

The message was that there were families who had no heat, no food and a very slim chance of a merry Christmas. Helping these families was the Morrow County Red Cross Chapter. Its spokesperson was Mrs. R. M. Mathews who said they had uncovered “dozens of pitiful cases in the county and in turn have proved God-send by supplying half-starved and semi-clothed people with the necessities of life.

Dozens of women had come to the Red Cross head- quarters in Mount Gilead and with their heads bowing sobbed their want and suffering to the Red cross chairmen. Before they left the room they were beaming with joy, had taken a new lease on life s they departed for home with warm comforts, underclothing, stockings and other needed clothing.”

Mathews said, “Many people are unaware of the amount of human suffering that is prevalent in Morrow County.” She cited several instances including one in which they acted to prevent a baby being born in a circus wagon.

Other cases involved children not having enough food to eat and being underfed they could not compete with other students.

She noted some of the help the Morrow County Red Cross had given which included more than two carloads of flour distributed to needy families in different townships and approximately 3,000 yards of goods were given to housewives to be made into wearing apparel and sheets.

Other help included distribution of five dozen pairs of men’s trousers, two dozen overalls, a dozen play suits, a dozen knickers, ten dozen women’s bloomers, five dozen men’s and women’s union suits, 14 dozen pairs of women’s hose, 26 dozen pairs of men’s socks and two dozen pairs of men’s jumpers, all received from the National Red Cross. Other donations of used clothing had been made by churches, clubs and individuals.

This was during the Depression and I’m sure this assistance made Christmas “a most happier time of the year” for many people. Today, we still have many groups and organizations still helping individuals and families enjoy a happy holiday.

From the December 21, 1899 Cardington Independent, an ad noting the Palace of Santa Claus was at “The Novelty,” a complete department store in Morrow County. The store was located in Cardington and offered a litany of merchandise for Christmas including “Dolls from one cent to $5.00.”

Looking back

70 years ago, December 1950: Harry H. Curl, 58, died unexpectedly on December 2. He suffered a heart attack. Mr. Curl was preparing to go to Ashley to retrieve the bodies of a Marengo father and his son who were killed in a car-train crash in Ashley earlier that evening when he was stricken.

Harry was a 1909 Cardington High school graduate, and received his embalming license in 1911. He was a World War I veteran and had been associated with the Curl Mortuary for 40 years.

50 years ago, December, 1970: A controversy erupted in the county which played itself out in the three local weekly newspapers over the true meaning of the peace symbol.

By Evelyn Long

Contributing Columnist