CHRISTMAS: HOW TIMES HAVE CHANGED - Calhoun W. O. "Bill" Umstead 1966

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 still lives.

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.

We never even saw an automobile going down the road.

You 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 penny.

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 breakfast.

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 miles away.

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 stove.

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 tomorrow.