Yuletide Memories with the Loughney Family 

By Steve Svetovich

It is easy getting into the Christmas spirit with former Dunmore Mayor Patrick “Nibs” Loughney and his wife Donna who love all the Yuletide traditions. 

Nibs and his wife always have fond memories of Christmas past and like to keep the traditions alive. 

And it’s that on going spirit that sparks Christmas memories for Nibs and his wife in the winter wonderland of Dunmore.

In years past, this scribe would call Nibs mid December and the former mayor would fondly recall his most classic Christmas memories growing up in Dunmore.

“Remember the huge, over sized Christmas light bulbs?” he asked. 

“You can’t find them anymore. Those unique, big light bulbs made a unique popping sound when they busted. 

“I knew a lot of kids in the neighborhood who liked popping them. It was fun.

“You know, they have upside down Christmas trees now. That’s a big change.

“We always had a real tree when I was a kid. My dad would take the whole family out looking for a tree. It was a big event. And he would never take the first tree he looked at. You definitely don’t see that anymore.

“My dad took his time looking for a tree. He took three or four days and sometimes even a week to find one. It had to be the perfect tree. A lot of people followed that same custom. 

“Today it is different. You find the first tree you spot. People do not have the time anymore. It is so different now.”

Nibs said there is a local landscaper who will take a Christmas tree right to your door now. “You don’t even pick,it out.”

Nibs remembered the old train sets. “I would love to find the old Lionel trains. The train took a different turn. Remember that?

“We would sit for hours and play with the trains. Remember the shock they made when they crashed? Kids in my day loved that.”

Nibs has fond memories of silver aluminum trees. “I haven’t seen any of them lately.”

The former mayor’s wife Donna fondly remembers her mom and sisters making ornaments out of wood and painting them like the 12 days of Christmas. “My mom and sisters painted the 12 days of Christmas and decorated the tree,” she said. 

“We still have those wooden ornaments.”

Nibs said one of his favorite memories is of the old Globe Store Santa Claus. “We would get on the escalator at The Globe and go to the fourth or fifth floor to see Santa. And we did it with great anticipation. 

“We would sit on Santa’s lap and get a little lapel pin. Remember the little lapel pin? You just had to get one of them. It’s nose would light up. You would get one picture with Santa and treasure it.”

Nibs remembers the tradition of following up the Santa visit with lunch at the Charlmont. 

“Remember the chefs with the big chef hats making the roast at the Charlmont? It always smelled so good.”

Donna has vivid memories of Christmas Eve with family. “We would go to Christmas Eve mass,” she said. “The whole crew would go. Then we would visit each other’s homes. We used to have a silver aluminum family Christmas tree. We had so much fun with our traditions.”

Nibs said it used to be a huge deal to look at Christmas lights. “My dad would take the whole family out and drive around for hours looking at Christmas lights. It was a big deal in those days and we made a night of it.”

Nibs said you don’t see kids sleigh riding as much as in days gone by. “Remember sleigh riding and making snowmen? You would use buttons for the snowman’s eyes and nose and he would always wear a hat. You would put the hat on him at the end. Then you had the perfect snowman.

“You don’t see many snowmen anymore. It’s a lost art.”

Nibs said toys and games have changed too. “Remember the old Rock Em’ Sock Em’ Robots? They actually made a comeback and are in stores again. We had only the generic game of Operation. Then came the Shrek game of Operation. Now there are all kinds of games of Operation.

“Today there are many computer games. Computers were just a thought in our day.”

Nibs said he remembers the old rubber snow boots. “Your mom would make you wear them. They had a lot of buckles in them all the way to the top. It took some work to get them on. It was very challenging. If they were not buckled right, snow would get right in to your socks. Remember that?”

Donna talked more about Christmas family traditions. “It’s been a long standing tradition to have my family and friends at my house early Christmas morning. My sister Pamela, who is mentally challenged, lives with us. She still gets excited.

“We do the whole Christmas thing. We open gifts, have a big breakfast and then the whole family comes over. 

“We would go to my sister Rose’s house. And then back to our house.

“It is really special for my sister Pamela. She writes a letter every year to Santa. She does that to this day. It is pure joy to watch her wait for a reply. She waits for the mailman every day until she gets that reply.”

Yes, there really is a Santa Claus.

Just ask Donna’s sister Pamela. 

From the staff of the Dunmorean and the Loughney family of Dunmore, Merry Christmas everyone. 

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