By Janice Kimber, marketing specialist, The Lodge at BridgeMill
This was my favorite Christmas gift: taking the time to talk with our residents about days gone by. The first person I asked chuckled and said, “Oh my, that was so long ago, I don’t remember!” I suggested she give it a little thought and get back to me. She later shared with me her favorite gift, and thanked me for getting her thinking about her childhood, family stories and things long forgotten. Many of our residents were born during or shortly after the Great Depression, when families were struggling to survive and goods and services were not as abundant as they are today. It got me thinking that possessions — even gifts from the heart — are just things easily forgotten over time.
Here’s what our residents had to say:
I was about 5 or 6 and I got a new tricycle, it was maroon and big! On my first ride I met a boy in the neighborhood who said he didn’t get anything from Santa for Christmas. How could this be? I couldn’t imagine and felt so bad for him, I gave him my bike. I went home and told my parents what I had done, they were mad. We didn’t have much and they had to save to get me that bike.
A new bicycle from Montgomery Ward. It had a tank in front, a bell and a rack on the back to carry my things. I was 10, and I rode that bike everywhere.
My engagement ring from my soon-to-be husband.
An electric train like my brothers had. I passed it on to my son, who still has it!
I grew up during the Depression, we were lucky if we got an orange in our stocking. One year I got a new winter coat, I was so proud — and warm!
A puppy! My parents wrapped him in a blanket and he was waiting for me under the tree on Christmas morning. I loved that little guy so much!
Figure skates. I thought I was going to be the next Sonja Henie (three-time Olympic figure skating champion — 1928, 1932, 1936 — and film star).
My favorite gift was from my aunt, who knitted me hats and gloves for Christmas. They kept me warm through the cold Northeast winters.
My Betsy Wetsy doll.
My Bi-Lo Baby. I was a little girl and my great-aunt made lots of beautiful clothes for her. I still have her today!
My baby brother!
A toy cash register. My brothers bought it for $2; it was metal with a drawer that opened. I set up a little store. I liked to handle money!
As a special treat my Mom gave us nuts, a delicious Italian tradition! I grew up in Italy and we had very little.