As everyone finished their lunch, Senior Center Director Bland told The Cadiz Record that she was hoping some of those present would take advantage to tell the crowd about some of their cherished Christmas memories. She said she couldn’t always get people to do it, but that one year, a people told her story about giving birth on Christmas Eve. As it turned out, Bland was not left disappointed.
Martha Smith, a frequent visitor to the Senior Center, spoke about a recent trip she made to the Pennyroyal Museum, where she joined a few others for Christmas tea. She said that someone from a museum in Bowling Green had talked about Christmas traditions. He said that Christmas trees, a German tradition, didn’t become popular in the United States until the late 1800s and that since people didn’t usually have fancy decorations, they would hang things on the branches that were important to them. Many times, they would hang gifts, such as unwrapped socks.
Since there was no refrigerator in the house when Smith was a child, and her family didn’t own an icebox, she put pies on the screened-in back porch to keep cool. Another thing she remembered about her childhood Christmases was that downtown Cadiz was always crowded on Christmas Eve. She likened this to the way Saturdays used to be from the ‘20s and throughout the ‘50s. She said the sidewalks were crowded enough with shoppers that people had “elbow their way” down them. She said that the crowds also stayed there through the entire day.
“People stayed on the street as long as the stores were open, and the stores stayed open as long as people were on the street,” Smith said.
Bland said the roads were so bad when she was young, that any and all visits were relatives were considered Christmas gifts, and there were no expectations of any actual presents. She reminisced about relatives showing up at the door and shouting, “Christmas gift!”
Gertrude Merrick said she moved to Trigg County from a much larger city in West Virginia as a young bride and was extremely homesick her first year here. She said her husband was reluctant to put up a Christmas tree at first, but she insisted.
“He said, ‘You don’t need a tree. We don’t even have kids,’” Merrick said. “And I said, ‘Well, I’m a kid at heart, and I want a tree.’”
For the rest of this story, read this week's Cadiz Record.