27 November 2004

Christmas Lights A'Comin'!

Holiday lights in Yet Another Journal.

25 November 2004

Ahead of a Thanksgiving Trend

The front page of the Providence Journal features an "above the fold" story called "Busy and Winging It."
"It is the iconic symbol of Thanksgiving from six decades ago: Norman Rockwell's 'Freedom from Want' illustration that depicts three smiling generations seated around a white linen-sheathed table as the grandmother, with the grandfather beside her, presents the plump turkey.

"This year many families in Southeastern New England will be headed over the river and through the woods...to a local restaurant.

"It's not your grandmother's Thanksgiving anymore..."
Wow, I grew up "ahead of the curve"! The three of us always went out for Thanksgiving.

The day started at nine, when the CBS parades began. Back then the eye network had an eclectic mix of holiday marchers that didn't include Hawaiian flowers or Disneyfication: the classic Macy's from New York, which was also covered in full on NBC; Gimbels from Philadelphia (Macy's had balloons, Gimbel's had giant heads); J.L. Hudson's in Detroit (Hudson's now survives as Target); and Eaton's Santa Claus Parade from Toronto. The children's friend, our beloved Captain Kangaroo, hosted the affair from New York; he was succeeded by William Conrad sipping eggnog in a plush den and reading "A Visit from St. Nicholas."

As the last hour of the parades tripped by, it was time to get dressed--and no casual clothes today!: leggings and slip and dress--and the curlers out of your hair and a fresh bow for your hair. We always went to the same place, Venetian Gardens out on West Shore Road. They used to be a supper club and still had awe-inspiring (at least for a kid) things like a hat-check girl, a cigarette girl, and waiters in black tie. Sometimes there was actually live piano music. It was best behavior time, but it was fun because it was such a treat--we didn't go out to eat much back then.

After dinner we rode around a bit to give the relatives time to eat, then dropped in from house to house sampling all the different desserts. There would be Auntie Lisa's big tall-crusted apple pie, and pumpkin and squash pies, and probably wine biscuits and other cookies and Hershey kisses scattered in between them. There would be coffee for the adults and soda and milk for the kids, and chat--although more than a handful of the men would be in the living room absorbed in one of the football games.

We kids would go to sleep that evening full of turkey and treats, looking forward to the holiday tomorrow, when all the Saturday morning cartoons would be broadcast. Some of us would go downtown for Christmas shopping and to see Santa Claus' arrival on a fire truck. One memorable year Santa arrived with a reindeer. I was so absorbed with following them that I got lost--but I knew what to do. Mom and the policeman found me where I was supposed to go when I got lost, next to the big cast-iron clock outside Shepard's department store. "Meet me at the Shepard's clock" was a Providence watchword for years.

12 November 2004

Too Early is Just Too Early

Last year several days before Thanksgiving I was pop-eyed at a house that already had their Christmas decorations up (we're talking lighted deer, swags, inflatable Santas, the whole nine yards).

I forgot to mention that last Saturday--yes, November 6--we passed the same house.

You guessed it--Christmas City already! Ye Gods. I suppose they can't be blamed: I wandered through Barnes & Noble yesterday and there were Christmas books out galore. Warning: that is not a new collection of stories in the Santa-Claus covered Christmas at the New Yorker. It's just a new dust cover.

04 November 2004

Search for the Silver Star

One of old-time radio's classic holiday programs was a children's serial story called The Cinnamon Bear. I have a copy but have never listened to it.

The folks linked have produced a Cinnamon Bear CD set and on this page tell the story of the production of the series and a history of its syndication, and have a synopsis of the episodes. Looking forward to hearing it this year.