by David Parmer
Above right, in front of the Christmas tree, are Amos and Mable (Posey) Henline with their young daughters Belinda and Olive Alice about 1945. For more on this family see the Jun '07 entry The Buzzardtown Tongue Twisters
Ethel Doyle remembers one cold, snowy winter on Three Lick around 1930 when she was about fourteen that she and her sister Virginia, and Pid Henline’s children, Jessie, Ruth, Denver, Ernest and Ed, got out their farm sled, loaded it with hay, hitched up the horse and took a sled tour of Tulley Ridge. "It was a lot of fun," recalls Ethel. "There weren’t any paved roads, and you didn’t go anywhere in the winter time and winters lasted a long time. You stayed at Orlando."
Dale Barnett also remembers that Charley Knight would help bring a little noise to the Christmas holiday cheer in Orlando by stocking up on firecrackers and Roman candles in his store which were always a favorite of Orlando youth. Dale recalls that Charley Knight enjoyed Christmas time, in a true merchant’s way, by having displays of toys and other Christmas goodies, such as hard tack candy, nuts, and oranges, in his store.
To the left, On Christmas day in 1938, 10 year old Jane Stutler wrote a Christmas message in the autograph book of her sister Mary Stutler:
Orlando, W. Va.
The snow has been falling for Christmas. The hills are white. The house top and trees are white. School is out for one weekand I am glad of it. We had a program at school & Sando Clase & his wife was at school Fri.
Double click on the picture th enlarge it. Also, see more about this in the Apr '06 entry Oil Creek Christmas 1938.
Dale Barnett remembers during his days at the Orlando School that Stewart Blake and his sons would come in and play music for the school. "That was an extra special treat", remembered Dale. Dale also remembers the Christmas plays which were given each year, followed by a party, and a visit by Santa Claus who would pass out packages of candy to all the school kids. Mildred (Morrison) McNemar also remembers the visits by Santa and the welcome gifts of candy.
Rosemary (Riffle) Crutchfield of Burnsville went to the lower Clover Fork School which was beside the Clover Fork Methodist Church. Rosie particularly remembers her favorite teacher, Virginia McCoy Skinner, who arranged the Christmas programs. "Each student would have a memorized recitation to give." When Santa came, he would give each student an apple, or orange or candy bar or a pencil. "It wasn’t much but it meant so much to us." Rosie also remembers that she and her family would spend Christmas eves at the home of her parents on Clover Fork. "One evening when we were coming back to Burnsville, Penny and Timmy," her children, who were in the back seat, were looking into the sky as they approached McCauley Run, when they excitedly exclaimed "there goes Santa Claus in the sky." Whether it was an apparition, or a child’s fancy, Penny and Timmy were sure they saw Santa on his way to their house. Nevertheless, it is a wonderful memory of Christmas.
Helen Jeffries, who lived on Oil Creek, and whose sons went their early years to the Orlando School and their latter elementary years to Walnut Grove on Oil Creek, remembers somewhat embarrassingly, that her son John, now a retired state policeman, was dressed as Santa during a school program, and in the midst of some activity suffered a draft to his behind when his pants fell.
Mildred (Morrison) McNemar remembers during one Christmas season that John Brown, the Orlando principal, allowed Irene and Jane Conley to bring Christmas records to school to play on the school’s old record player. Students were allowed to stay after school to listen to the music. Mildred said that it was very nice because not many people had the opportunity to listen to phonograph music. Mildred remembers however that the real excitement for the school kids was when Santa would make his appearance. "It was a special time." Kids didn’t have much at home throughout the year, and this meant so much to us." Mildred also remembers that when she was about fourteen, her neighbor Helen Jeffries, crocheted a little cross book marker about four inches long, interwoven with red ribbon, for her as a Christmas gift which she treasures to this day. "Little things mean a lot at Christmas," said Mildred.
Sandy (Burgett) Conrad, whose folks bought the store from the Browns, recalls also that for Christmas the store would get in salt fish and opera creams.
When asked if her family had turkey for Christmas dinners, Ethel Doyle of Three Lick, said "Oh, no, turkeys were to be sold for cash, we always had chicken for Christmas dinner." Helen Jeffries remembers that her family, a few weeks before Christmas, would pen up their largest rooster, and fatten it for their Christmas feast. Mildred (Morrison) McNemar remembers that the main course at her home was a "fattened up hen." The traditional mashed potatoes, sweet potatoes, green beans, dressing, gravy, pies and cakes, were served along with the Christmas fowl. Helen Jeffries remembers one Christmas mistake when she took a notion to prepare a goose for the Yule-Day meal. "It was so fat, that after it rendered down, there was scarcely enough to go around." That was the last Christmas goose in that family.
With Santa, to the right, are two of the grandchildren who came "home" with their folks for Christmas. The children of Oras and Edith (Skinner) Stutler emmigrated to Detroit in the late 1940s and early 1950s. Donna (Witzgall) Gloff and Joe Burgett were two of the nine grandkids Santa visited in the parlor of the former Dolan Hotel in 1951. The Sep '06 entry Joe's Song is about the little boy in the picture.