|How Times Have Changed!|
By W. O. "Bill" Umstead 1966
(Umstead was a longtime Grantsville postmaster, and frequently wrote columns about early Calhoun life)
When you little boys and girls open your eyes on
Christmas morning of 1966 to see what old Santa Claus
has brought you, I would like to tell you about
Christmas morning over 60 years ago.
My, but times
have changed, but it is the same Christmas which will
never change for it is the birthday of another child
born some 2000 years ago. Although he died - He
We oftimes forget, and people do not celebrate this
birthday as it should be celebrated. Today the world
is torn with strife, we are weary with wars and we all
have the jitters and shakes. (Referring to the Vietnam War)
Man in the past decade
has with ingenuity knitted the world so close
together with sound and speed that we are only a few
seconds away from the remote people of other nations.
Sixty years ago here in my native Calhoun County, we
never saw a jet plane screaming through the sky.
never even saw an automobile going down the road.
see. we had no hard roads. All we had was a narrow
road filled with mud.
Little boys wore knee pants and
bibbed overalls. Boys and girls all wore long black
stockings above their knees, held up with garters.
We had a Christmas tree and we decorated it mostly
with popcorn strung on a thread. Old Santa Claus
would come to our homes on Christmas Eve bringing us
candy, apples, sleds, horns, but mostly something we
needed like a new pair of boots, pants, or dresses.
He most always brought little girls a doll baby, but
they never walked and talked like they do today.
Most of the people were poor but happy. We
didn't have a television set to watch and the radio
was hardly known.
Things you bought to eat were cheap.
When I was a little boy you could get a bag of candy
for a nickel and a big stick of OK chewing gum for a
You could buy a pound of grain coffee for
fifteen cents. Our parents took it home and ground it
on a coffee mill turned by hand.
We children ate a good
We played hard and we were healthy despite
adverse circumstances, seldom seeing a doctor as
doctors were few and lived far away.
You see, it took
us a day to travel to Grantville and back, only six
We little boys and girls living back there many years
ago celebrated Christmas much like you do today
although we did not have the things you have now.
Somehow I believe people were happier and enjoyed things more.
We had no electricity or gas lights, but our mothers
would read us stories about the Christ child and from
the Bible while we gathered around the fireplace or
We hung our stockings up and mother would tuck
us in our beds, turn the oil light down low and we
went to sleep dreaming of a wonderful world of