Everyone’s getting a little nostalgic
By Margaret Melloy Guziak -
The Christmas season is a nostalgic time for most of us. It’s a time when we remember other Christmases and family members who are no longer with us. According to Webster’s dictionary, the word “nostalgia” is from two Greek words, “nostos” for homecoming and “algos” meaning pain. It is a “sentimental recollection mixed with feelings of happiness, sadness and longing when we recall a person, place or event from long ago.”
Memories of Christmas past
One of my young childhood holiday events I remember was my mother taking me to ride the Pennsylvania Railroad train to Philadelphia to visit and shop downtown at Wanamaker’s Department store, and to see their wondrous Christmas decorations. It was a mother/daughter bonding trip. Wanamaker’s was no ordinary store. It was a historic place; it was the first department store in Philadelphia. This very special retail store had a huge 2,500-pound bronze eagle sculpture standing on the main floor, which was called “the Grand Court” with marble floors. The lower nine stories of the 12-story building were devoted to retail items. The eagle was sculptured and cast in bronze for the 1904 St. Louis World’s Fair. In 1909, businessman John Wanamaker purchased it for his magnificent store.
In addition to the bronze eagle, Wanamaker’s had a pipe organ that was also used at the 1904 World’s Fair and was the largest of its type in the world. Can you imagine how grand the Christmas concerts were when the organist played traditional Christmas carols like “Silent Night” and “Deck the Halls,” and it resonated throughout the entire store? Choirs of carolers dressed in elegant Victorian costumes sang from the second floor balcony surrounding the Grand Court added to the free show. It was an unforgettable experience.
If someone in Philadelphia or surrounding cities said, “Meet me at the eagle,” you knew exactly what they were referring to. To avoid getting lost in the enormous, holiday crowds, or if you planned to meet someone downtown, you met next to the eagle sculpture in Wanamaker’s store. Are there any readers out there who remember Wanamaker’s and the eagle? I’m curious, so let me know. (Thanks to the Internet, you can research John Wanamaker and his store. There is also a new book published titled, “Meet Me at the Eagle.”)
My husband has his own childhood memories of Michigan and horse-drawn, sleigh-riding on his grandparents’ farm. He fondly recalls ice-skating and playing hockey with his brothers in the many city parks in his hometown near the lake. In his backyard, he, his father and brothers constructed their own skating rink by flooding the middle of the backyard with water from the garden hose. High, shoveled, snow banks encircled their makeshift, ice-skating pond and the cold, steady, overnight temperatures completed their wintry task. They were able to happily skate all winter into the early evenings, with the little, back porch light producing enough brightness to see.
Now, go out and make your own family memories in Colorado!
“I will honor Christmas in my heart and try to keep it all year.”
(Charles Dickens, author)
Keep up with the news with the Fruita Times
Like a lot of other local clubs, the Chapter 800EAA based at Mack Mesa Airport, held their annual Christmas luncheon at Judy’s Restaurant in Fruita on Dec. 8. The Christmas luncheon is always followed by a short business meeting, including the election of officers for the upcoming year. We will give you a report on the meeting in the next issue of “The Fruita Times,” their monthly meeting dates, and the 2013 date and online registration information for the next “Young Eagles Day”, where children from ages 8 to 17 can fly free over the Valley in planes flown by member pilots. In September, they flew 83 children. For most of the children, it was their first time to see their world from the air!
Don’t forget to stop in or call the Fruita Times and order a subscription to your hometown paper to be delivered to your mailbox every Thursday. You will be sure to know exactly what is happening in town and when, so you can make family plans. If you have children in school, you are sure to enjoy the various photographs that professional photographer, Charles Pearson, has taken. His sports pictures are outstanding.
Looking toward Christmas future
The spirit of Christmas is alive and well if you open your eyes and ears to it. From high school teens to seniors, you will notice there is a genuine caring for the other person. Sure, you will still see or hear the “road rage” on the highway, but it will take more than the Christmas spirit to change that. Each person is responsible for his own behavior and actions. To stay sane, we have to focus on the goodness in the hearts of people instead.
“Unless we make Christmas an occasion to share our blessings, all the snow in Alaska won’t make it white.” (Bing Crosby, actor)