Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Merry Christmas

It's finally here… Christmas day! This will be a slightly smaller-than-usual Christmas, since some of my family will be in other parts of the country. We'll make up for it by getting together sometime in January. 

Anyway, I decided to share a series of photos from one young boy's Christmas, circa 1958. Hopefully you can all enjoy a bit of holiday nostalgia through these 55 year-old pix, even if you are much younger.

Looks like this boy (what do you think, 5 years old?) has grabbed his Christmas stocking and run upstairs so that mom can see what Santa brought him. Walnuts? Well, they're traditional I guess, and better than a lump of coal. A kaleidoscope, that's more like it... those things are still cool! And a toy plastic boat - he is already imagining many creative ways to sink it while playing in the bathtub.

That is a pretty nice tree, but I can't help being distracted by all of the boxes under it! Just look at all that stuff. And Santa has been nice enough to set up a circular railroad track right in front where nobody can miss it. 

 Looks like mom is fixing an untimely and derailing. Everybody knows that the way to a boy's heart is through tiny trucks, boats, automobiles, and yes, trains! Everybody is wearing those red rubber flip-flops.

Take it all in, kid! I still remember running down the stairs straight to the tree, completely missing the brand-new Schwinn bicycle in the front hallway (metallic blue, with a banana seat and tassels on the handlebars). Notice the little nativity scene right next to the railroad tracks.

A new wagon! If you are lucky enough to live near a hill, those things are great; they really pick up speed. You can tell from the look on the boy's face, he thinks it is swell.

This one might be my favorite! The kid is so amazed by whatever his mom is holding… it is a  mechanical bank? A birdhouse? A music box? All of the above? I can't help noticing the chair that the boy is sitting on… my mom has one almost just like it (brought back from Mexico in the 1950's) sitting in the den.

And for a bit of extra Christmas cheer, GDB reader Melissa has been inspired by the legend of "Linda" (you might recall her), and she has created some fun alternate universe pictures featuring Linda (both happy and sad) with old Saint Nick. Or maybe... Linda was REALLY THERE every time (cue "Twilight Zone" theme)!! Take a look, it'll make you smile.

I would like to wish all GDB readers a Very Merry Christmas!


TokyoMagic! said...

I wonder if the large birdcage (with parakeets?) next to the Christmas tree was a gift or if it was a permanent fixture in the living room. I want that chair, end table, lamp and trash can in the second to last photo! Great little glimpse into the past, Major.....thank you, and Merry Christmas!!!

Nanook said...


This set of pictures is a real treasure-trove of wonderful images. It appears the fist pic has "get well" cards on the wall behind the bed-? And how's about those wide-slat, wooden venetian blinds-? Or that hideous wallpaper of "tropical" leaves-? And the real "find" - a Fedcal Flyer - which, I presume, was purchased at none other than Southern California's greatest discount department store: FEDCO. (I'll take a fifth of 'Old Fedcal Scotch', myself).

Melissa - The Legend of Linda could inspire a whole series of Lindas pictured in famous locales around the globe, along the lines of Where's Waldo-? Thanks for your prose and poetry, mirth and merriment - and the occasional song.

And to all the GDB readers, both those who follow "in silence", and those who chime-in - thank you all.

And an extra-special round of applause and good cheer to the Major for bringing it all together and continuing to provide the heavy lifting, making this site a daily experience worthy of great joy, fun and a bit of nostalgia.

A Merry Christmas to us all.

Graffer said...

God bless us every one.

Nancy said...

Love the photos today, so remind of me Christmases past. We have dwindled from about 16 to just 9 of us now; three sibs, three granddaughters and three others. We carry on but its just not the same as those in our childhoods (the 60s).

Wishing all a Merry Christmas!

Gojira said...

Terrific pics Major! Merry Christmas!

K. Martinez said...

It took me a while, but I finally spotted the Nativity. That's one cool Christmas tree. I love the train layout, as I put train under the Christmas tree nearly every year.

Melissa, Thanks for sharing images of Linda's life. She was definitely consistent. I second what Nanook said. Your creativity always puts a smile on my face and lightens my day. Thank you.

Merry Christmas, Major. Merry Christmas to all.

Caspian said...

Merry Christmas to all the GDB folks!!!


Gnometrek said...

Thank you Major and Merry Christmas! God bless us everyone!

Melissa said...

The decor of the house is transporting me back to my Grandma's. She had wallpaper almost exactly like that in her front room (although by the time I came along it was faded from decades of smoke from the woodstove and cigarettes) and the same sort of furniture and knickknacks. And there were always mixed nuts at Christmas; Uncle Skip used to open the walnuts carefully, eat the meats, then glue the shells together and put them back in the bowl.

A very merry Christmas to you, Major P., and to all the GDB readers who bring me such cheer throughout the year.

David said...

Thank you, Major! Merry Christmas!

Irene said...

Love these photos. I too grew up in the 50's - wooden slat venetian blinds, heavy curtains, a cage with parakeets in them (though are birds were not kept in the living room - too messy), drenched in tinsel tree, and lots and lots of gifts. We did not have that hideous wall paper though, thanks goodness! Also liked that TV in the third photo.
I miss Fedco!
Merry Christmas Major and thanks for the cheer you give us every day.

Irene said...

And ... I don't know where the custom came from but every (and I mean every) year we had mixed nuts and oranges in our stockings. My mother continued to give my brother and I nuts and oranges at Christmas until she passed away in 1987.

Melissa said...

It took me a while, but I finally spotted the Nativity.

Oh, my goodness, I just noticed that, too! It's like the Primeval World diorama on the Disneyland Railroad!

What Linda Asked from Santa on the Twelve Days of Christmas:

(Goes along with the pictures)

1. A one-way ticket back to Cheektowaga for Lisa.

2. A ten-gallon bucket of surfboard wax for Jim.

3. A good home for this cat Jim gave me. Ow!

4. Magic Kingdom Club membership and a Special 12-Ride Book full of nothing but “E” Coupons.

5. Sleeves.

6. Cooking lessons before the big dinner party with the Chief of Staff at Jim’s hospital, 1972 World Surfing Champion James “Jimmy” Blears, Jr, and Mother.

7. Some new sweaters, because who would have guessed it would be so darn cold in California, even in December?

8. Fewer pretty nurses at Jim’s hospital, and more one-piece bathing suits at his surfing classes. You know what I mean, Mrs. Claus!

9. For this darned party to end already.

10. More of this delicious California wine! You know, everyone back home says that California wine isn’t any better than New York State wine, and the Napa Valley hasn’t got anything over the Finger Lakes, but that Beringer Chardonnay is so sweet and delicious, I don’t tipsy I’m think at all!

11. A shorter hairpiece; this one is giving me a headache. Jim likes me with long hair, but he doesn’t like me with a headache, if you know what I mean. I suppose I shouldn’t be saying such things in mixed company, but you’re a married man, after all. Is Mrs. Claus here today?

12. A watch, so I’ll know exactly how late Jim is when he’s supposed to meet me somewhere.

Melissa said...

a cage with parakeets in them (though are birds were not kept in the living room - too messy)

Grandma always had a blue parakeet named Mr. Bird. I didn't find out until after she died that it had been a long series of short-lived blue parakeets, all named Mr. Bird.

Major Pepperidge said...

TokyoMagic!, my guess is that the birds were there all the time; they're not very Christmas-y. Mid-century furniture is the best! Merry Christmas to you too!

Nanook, yeah, these were fun, especially because you can see the delight on the kid's face. Fedco, huh? Somehow I thought "FedCal" might be a bank, but I vaguely remember the name "Fedco". Thanks for your kind Christmas wishes.

Graffer, hey, that's good! I'm going to write it down.

Nancy, I know just how you feel. The holidays are when I especially miss my grandparents.

Gojira, thanks!

K. Martinez, yes, it is a tiny nativity, but that is part of its charm. And I think Melissa works harder on this blog than I do!

Caspian, thanks for checking in!

Gnometrek, Merry Christmas to you as well.

Melissa, my grandma has some green leafy wallpaper too, that must have been a thing back in those days. Your grandma had a wood stove? Cool! Mmmmm, cigarettes. Uncle Skip needed to be taught a lesson, but I can't think of how to do it. Replace his toothpaste with mayonnaise? Thank you for the Christmas wishes and for your great pix!

Irene, growing up I would hear about kids in the "old country" getting walnuts and an orange for Christmas, and I would think, "Those poor shnooks!". Because I was a brat and loved my stocking stuffers too much. I do kind of like the traditional aspect of it though.

Melissa, you have inspired me to make a nativity scene with dinosaurs. Thanks! "Mr. Bird", that sounds like me.

Alonzo P Hawk said...

Merry (late) Christmas to you major and thanks for all the pictures (throughout the year).
This batch brings back some great memories from years past.

Kudos to Nonook for spotting the Fedcal Flyer. My dear departed dad used to love the Van Nuys store and being the thrifty guy he was would even drink some of that lovely Fedcal scotch and vodka around the holidays.

Good tidings to all the GDB faithful. Your contributions (photos and comments) brighten the days throughout the year.

Chuck said...

Finally had a moment to check in for the first time in months. A belated "Merry Christmas" to you all! And now, looks like I need to spend a few joyful hours catching up on GDB back continuity...

Dave said...

Like Irene I really dig that TV and am really intrigued by what is stacked next to it. I swear they look like Beta tapes only 30 years too early! Judging by the December footwear and the "Fedcal Flyer" I would assume this is SoCal, maybe Pop worked at the skunk works and had access to super secret VCR technology in the 50's, or they're just books.....

Nanook, correct me if I'm wrong, but wasn't "FedCo" a membership store? I was more familiar with "GemCo" where my parents had a membership, large store down there in my "home town" of Fountain Valley.

D-ticket said...

Merry Christmas Major!
You've been giving us presents all year.

Those yellow boxes next to the TV (GE Hotpoint?) are possibly Kodak slides boxes, some of which soon would end up on this very blog.

Snow White Archive said...

Merry Christmas to you Major. I know you're getting down on your stock of photos, but I sure hope you continue your posts in this coming new year. Really enjoy your blog.

Nanook said...


Yes indeed, FEDCO (Federal Employees' Distributing Company) was a membership store - but as the years went by, the definition of "Federal" was rather lax. They opened it up to any government employee, students, teachers, etc. Towards the end, am not really certain what the membership qualifiers were.