Christmas memories

Friday, December 21, 2007

To the Editor:

The Christmas season has triggered some memories of things that I remember from my childhood.

When I was growing up Mr. Fisher hadn't met Mr. Price and toys were NOT us! The 10-cent stores (Kuhns, Shainberg, Loyds, Redford) might have some balls, bats, a few dolls, a yo-yo, possibly a jump-rope.

Big-ticket items, bicycles could be found in Will Hardison or Butlers Brothers hardware stores. But only in the weeks before Christmas do I remember stores having a "toy department."

But come about the middle of December, this dearth of toys was changed every year.

JC Penney and other stores announced with banners on their windows, "Toyland Is Open!"

The cavernous cold magical place was always, as I remember, upstairs in usually unused storage areas.

I can still feel the excitement of going up those steps and seeing tables with games, toy musical instruments and, of course, baby dolls. (Barbie had not been born.) A fairyland opened up to us. We didn't notice the rough walls and the bare wood floor. After viewing these wonders, one might go home and write Santa detailing what was our wished-for-treasure.

Sometimes, though unfortunately not every time, the dreamed-of gift was found under the tree Christmas morning. Still, just seeing things annually made a joyful experience for us.

The cold, unheated storage area took on a magical feel for a few weeks. I wish for every child his own special Toyland this year.

Mary H. Farley