Scribbled Christmas Memories of Decades Ago

By Steve Svetovich

Found some scribble on old paper of Christmas memories.

During most of this scribe’s 29 years writing for The Dunmorean, Patrick “Nibs” Loughney was mayor of the borough.

And for a couple decades or so, this scribe would call the former mayor to wish him a Merry Christmas.

And then Nibs would start sharing stories and memories of Christmas past.

These memories go back several decades into the 1960’s, 1970’s and 1980’s.

yule logAnd I would scribble on pieces of paper Nib’s memories of Christmas past.

Here are some of those memories as quoted by Nibs:

“Remember waking up to the cable-TV Yule log? It wasn’t on regular TV. It was something new for those who had cable. That was a constant for many years.

“Remember with great anticipation to watch ‘Frosty the Snowman’ or ‘Rudolph the Red-nosed Reindeer?’ Or how about  ‘A Charlie Brown Christmas?’ The whole family would watch.

“And didn’t Rudolph have the most shiny red nose you ever saw? Wasn’t it sad when Frosty melted? And poor old Charlie Brown with that classic little Charlie Brown tree.

“Remember Mr. Magoo and his Christmas Carol? How about the Ghost from Christmas past.

“How about the Grinch? Remember the original cartoon Grinch? They keep bringing him back in different forms. We had the original Grinch.

“Remember the days when all the kids visited Santa Claus in the old Globe Store? Remember the little lapel pin you would get from Santa there. It was a badge of honor to get that little lapel pin. You would get a little button on the lapel. You would get a thin, little photo with Santa.

“And then you would look forward to having lunch with your mom at The Charlmont. Remember the chefs with the big white chef hats?

“How about the Scranton Dry. Remember that?

santa“Today there are Santas everywhere. Not back then. The only real Santa was at The Globe. Santa was always on the fifth floor of The Globe Store.

“Santa seemed so real and magical there. He was the real Santa from the North Pole.

“How about the old moveable Santa who greeted you at The Fidelity Bank? He was always in constant motion.

“Remember the old Christmas lights with the big bulbs. Those bulbs were huge. Remember the noise they made when they popped? It was fun making them pop. My sister-in-law still has them.

“She told me if one breaks or burns out, it is tough to replace.

“Today everyone has those little lights. No more big bulbs.

“In the old days, we used to go out and get a real tree. We would spend days and nights going out and looking for a tree. You would take your time looking. It was an event.

“You would look at not only the Christmas lights in your town, but in other areas as well.

“It wasn’t a one-stop deal. We would make it an event lasting a few weeks.

“Today Nay Aug Park and a South Scranton Moosic Street home are the places to see bright Christmas lights.

“We had real trees in our day. Today there are many artificial trees. It was unusual to see an artificial tree when I was a kid.

“Remember the old white and silver aluminum trees? The people with the artificial trees had them. I think they are coming back now.

“Of course, today there are fiber optic Christmas trees.

“Remember as a young teen watching that Christmas Day playoff overtime game with the Miami Dolphins beating the Kansas City Chiefs? What a classic football game, right on Christmas Day.

“And how about the Christmas presents? In those days, a kid would get the old black Galosh boots with the buckle. You had to get that buckle around and snap it. It was hard to snap in the bitter cold. You always got those boots for Christmas. They were hard getting on and off.

toy-train-under-the-christmas-tree-diane-diederich“And remember the big mittens? You always would get mittens for Christmas.

“And you always had a train under the tree. It would be the old transformer bay.

You made the train go slow, fast and then suddenly make it stop. You would crank it up and watch it derail.

“How about the silver tinsel icicles you would throw on the train track and watch the trains spark. That was always nice to see.

“Remember the old hot wheels race tracks? Now they are coming back. Rock Em’ Sock Em’ Robots were big. Every kid wanted them. They came back a few years ago.

“The Operation game was big. And it came back again in all different forms. A few years ago they made a Shrek Operation game.

“How about Pia Pets a few years back?

“Remember when the ornaments on a tree looked like a big ball. You would put your face close to it and make it look distorted. That was a lot of fun. All the kids did it.

“Remember when all the adults spent days making cookies? There would be Christmas cookie swaps. My relatives baked them and swapped them. Before you knew it, you had all different kinds of cookies. You had your pick.

“Remember when American Auto at Dunmore corners was all decorated? That just had to get you in the Christmas spirit.

“And I remember how people would flock to church on Christmas Eve right into Christmas Day. There would be a continuous flow of people into and out of church. Then after midnight mass they would come right into your home to wish you a Merry Christmas.”

That’s just a few of the many Christmas memories from Nibs.

Time to make that phone call…very soon…and start scribbling.

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