DUPs recall Christmas in past
The Emery County Chapter of the Daughters of the Utah Pioneers met in their annual Christmas party at the Museum of the San Rafael on Dec. 3. The DUPs were entertained by singing Christmas songs and listening to Christmas stories presented from members of the DUP.
The songs were led by Mrs. Clement and accompanied on the piano by Cynthia Grant. Velda Jensen was the oldest DUP present and she received a gift. The DUPs seemed to enjoy their hot soup lunch and a chance to take home a variety of goodies in the goodie exchange.
Ruth Stilson recalled that each Christmas brought special times they looked forward to all year. She said there was sleigh riding and a dance was held for the kids.
Janet Geary said her mother enjoyed preparing divinity for Christmas and was always working on secret projects. Her dad was always the practical one and they would receive a towel or a tooth brush on Christmas. But, each year a sock would be filled to overflowing with candy, fruit and nuts and laid out on the couch.
Helen Wilberg said she had forgotten all about the dances for kids on Christmas. She said it was wonderful. The anticipation of the season was part of the fun. She was always in charge of the Christmas production. She never tires of the Christmas music. The ward had a program and she sang in the choir. Everyone looked forward to Christmas Eve at Grandma Wilbergs. She made the best apple pie. After dinner there was always a big bonfire and Santa would come. He would give the wide-eyed children an orange and some candy. Then they would return to the house and exchange gifts. The adults would draw names and all the children. They would open their gifts and then everyone returned home. Wilberg redalled the year, Mack Wilberg received a gun set for Christmas, but he gave it away to a cousin because he was busy playing with his new record player.
Wilberg said the Christmases of today are filled with electronics and Christmas has changed over the years, but the messsage remains the ame. Christmas should be about service prompted by the heart. "At Christmas, maybe we are almost what God wants us to be all year long," said Wilberg.
Marsha Atwood said her grandma had 12 kids and when everyone got together to spend Christmas they would see how many cousins they could squeeze into one bed. Atwood told the story behind the candy cane which is shaped like a J for Jesus when turned upside down.
Dorlynn Nelson said as she was growing up they were poor but they didn't know it. They had homemade candy each year. She read the story of the Gold Slippers which taught a shopper the true meaning of giving when two small children were shopping for a pair of gold slippers for their mother to wear as she met Jesus because she was ill.
Laverna Petersen from the Old Mill camp in Ferron shared her Chrismas memories as a child growing up in the depression years. "We were poor, but I didn't know it. I knew for sure these years, I would get a new dress and a new pair of shoes on Christmas and the fourth of July. Mama sewed all our clothes. I never owned a store bought item of clothes until I was in high school. We wore a lot of hand me downs. Mama did all her shopping through the Sears catalog, Singleton's Store and the Ferron Merc. We mver saw any towys displayed in the stores until about three weeks before Christmas and then both stores always had a nice assortment.
"We always hung up a stocking a nice long one. We usually received an orange in the bottom, a popcorn ball, my mother made the most delicious popcorn balls in the world, I have tried to use her recipe, but they just are never as good.
"On Christmas morning we would find a large bucket with about five or six sections and each section had a different kind of candy. There was a large assortment of nuts too.
My dad was a framer and cattleman. He ran cattle out in the Sinbad area. When all the farm work was done in the fall, he would go to Colorado and herd sheep for Carl Seely. The day before Christmas we would all start watching for Dad to come home. A lot of times it was very late when he came, but he always made it. How happy we were he was always there for the holiday.
"I don't remember where we got our Christmas tree, but we always had one. They were probably cedar trees because they smelled so good. We made snowflakes from white paper and strung red and green paper chains together. We put popcorn and cranberries on strings. We put candles on the tree for lights. The ward primary would always have a spiritual program for Christmas Eve to tell about the birth of our Savior. After the programSanta would arrive with a small bag of goodies for everyone. We would sit on Santas lap and tell hime what we wanted him to bring us. It was always hard to fall asleep that night.
"We were always up early to see what Santa brought. One year I wanted a heart shaped manicure set in the Sears Catalog. It was there under the tree on Christmas morning with my name on it. I kept it and used it for many years. For three years in a row, I got the same baby doll, her name was Colleen. She would always have a new outfit and a blanket. I loved reading Nancy Drew and would always get a new one for Christmas.
"On Christmas morning, we would go and visit all our friends all over town to see what they got for Christmas. In the afternoon we always had a childrens dance at the church.
Another special Christmas for me was 1946. Don and I had been married that summer in July. He was shipped off to the Panama Canal for duty. Then the war ended and he arrived home Christmas Eve to surprise all of us. It was so special for me to have him home to stay," said Petersen.