Christmas Past… Perfect?
by Cate Murway

“The reason people find it so hard to be happy is that they always see the past better than it was, the present worse than it is, and the future less resolved than it will be.”
Marcel Pagnol [1895-1974] French novelist, playwright, and filmmaker

The holiday season is a gentle reminder that peace and joy and love abide, so fill the air with promise, erasing all fears, conflicts, and ill-harbored feelings. Be a voice and not an echo.

No ghosts of Christmas past… just merry memories to share.

Retired and Loving It, Mary Frances Asta
“I was a young child, maybe 7 or 8, and still believed in Santa. My sister Donna was four years older. Well, she decided I was old enough to know the truth. She told me my parents bought the gifts from Santa and actually took me to the basement and showed me the pile of gifts.
I refused to believe her. And on Christmas morning when the Santa gifts arrived in the same wrapping paper, I still said it was just a coincidence and continued to believe for a year or 2 more.

Marine Veteran and world traveler, Charlotte Landreth-Melville
“I guess my most memorable Christmas may have been in Buenos Aires, Argentina back in 1935.   My father arranged a nine week Cook's Tour around South America for our family [ my mother, 2 sisters, (Meta and Emily) and I]  - I missed 9th grade at school at St. Mary's Hall (now Doane Academy) but took all my school books with me so I could keep up with the work.  I never did understand algebra even though I was tutored when I returned home. We took the Grace Line ship "Santa Lucia" on the first leg of our trip to Jamaica, through the Panama Canal, stopping at Balboa and Colon, Buenaventura, Columbia; Guayaquil, Ecuador; Callao, the port for Lima, Peru; Antofagasta, Chile; Valparaiso, Chile; inland by train to Santiago, Chile, train part way across the Andes, then because the railroad was washed out we drove the rest of the way by car to Buenos Aires.”

Cherished memories of childhood are her parents’ enduring gift to her.

Langhorne resident, Colleen Bresnahan
“My entire childhood ~ believing in Santa. Christmas Eve we would bring in the live Christmas tree and Dad would string the big old beautiful colored lights on the tree.  All of us children were sent to bed, the awe of waking up in the wee hours of the morning coming down to a beautifully decorated tree, each strand of lead tinsel hung caringly one by one like a waterfall all over the tree.  We were more anxious in seeing the tree decorated by (Dad and Mom) than looking at the presents beneath it.  Year after year my parents did so, as this is what Santa did......."

Before Black Fridays and Cyber Mondays, debt wasn’t the price one paid to make spirits bright.

Former mayor, Joseph A. Saxton
“One of my fondest  memories was as a child every year my mother would get me dressed up in my Sunday best and take me down to Friendly Mill St. to Nichols Camera shop to have my picture taken with Santa Claus. It was always on a Saturday morning and Santa would be sitting in this large hand carved wooden chair. We would stand in line for an hour or two and then I would get my chance to sit on jolly Old Saint Nick's lap and tell him what I wanted for Christmas, have my picture taken and receive my candy cane. My mom would then take me over Pal-Mar drug store and we would have lunch and then walk back to our house on Swain Street.”

Never forgetting the fragrances of favorite foods……

Authoress, Mary Galione-Nahas
“Christmas has become so commercialized, but I remember the good ol' days when Christmas was more about loving people and celebrating the birth of a Savior. My mom and Dad invited family and friends over for food and fun. Mom filled the table with homemade Italian pastries: pizzelles, almond and apricot stuffed Christmas cookies, tiramisu, macaroons, and more. Then Dad sang and played the guitar and harmonica, mom played the piano, and everyone in the room sang Christmas carols with joyous expressions that can only be described as happy and gay. These memories of Christmas past are gems in the treasure-troves of our minds. It is important that we remember them, talking about them, and pass them down to our children so they will know what Christmas was all about in the olden days.”

True spirit is never eclipsed by the silhouette of Santa’s sleigh.

Author/ Historian Harold D. Mitchener
"When I was in the third grade in school, I accompanied my mother on a Christmas shopping trip to the large department stores in Trenton.  I recall telling Santa what I wanted for Christmas.  Riding the bus on the way home, I remember admitting to my mother that I doubted that Santa was real.  I recall that she said that there was the "spirit" of Santa but that gifts were actually brought by family and not "the Jolly Old Man in the Sleigh".
This was a shock but something that had been "brewing in my mind".  At that time, I had three "heroes" - Santa Claus, Jesus and George Washington. I recall asking my parents when were they going to tell me that the other two on my list never existed? That Christmas morning was not the same and my parents had a challenge getting me "back to believing in George Washington and Jesus."

Most appreciated of all for the holidays is not the gift, but your presence!

Croydon resident, volunteer President of Special Teens Project, Harry Montgomery Esling, Jr.
Since 1973, Harry has been providing social programs for exceptional children and adults, 13 years old and older, including his son, Gregg William. The Special Teens meet at the Bristol Pike Lanes every Saturday all year. Some bowl in the league and others just prefer to go on the scheduled trips, including a recent trek to New Hope to ride the rails, a White House tour, or a Philadelphia Wings Lacrosse game at the Wells Fargo Center.  Next they will travel to the Keswick Theatre to watch The Peking Acrobats.
This volunteer is paid in smiles.

His wife, Board of Director of BARC and APS, Joan E. [Ragan] helped at the Holiday Party held last Sunday at the United Methodist Church where their older son, Glenn Harry is a trustee. It has always been a family affair. Their daughter, Jennifer Amanda Wilson assists when needed and their 3 grandchildren have helped setting up tables.

Former Danis Deli proprietor, Mary Fran [Danis] and her husband, Jacques Ziegler have catered or served the Special Teen functions for almost 30 years and DJ Ann Connor provides the tunes that keeps them dancing.

It’s not about presents or holiday specials and sugar cookies. When spirit is not limited to a date or season, the world could be filled with days of much giving, loving, caring and bonding, not selfish indulgence. Once the true "Christmas Spirit" essence has been caught, it stays in your heart forever!

A collective and inclusive "Happy Holidays" wish for all.

Recommend a “Spotlight”. E-mail

Senator Joseph R. Grundy with [now] MI attorney, Eric Scheie and his sister, Nancy [children of his opthalmologist, Dr. Harold Glendon Scheie] 
Mill Street 
David E. McGlynn
circa 1920