We spent a lot of Thanksgiving dinners at Grandma's and Aunt Oakie's house, but sometimes Mama would have everybody to her house, including her family. I remember one time we had duck for dinner and Uncle Frank made jokes about it that Mama didn't appreciate. We had the tables in the living room. Mama always got out her glasses and bowls and things that were her good dishes.
One Thanksgiving when we were at Grandma's, I remember the older people arguing about how FDR had changed Thanksgiving to the fourth Thursday of the month from the last Thursday to give an extra week for shopping. Back then, nobody shopped until after Thanksgiving.
On Christmas, we always asked for things to be brought to our house and things to be brought to Grandma's house. Daddy always got upset because he didn't see why we had to spend so much money for Christmas. It is too bad he couldn't just enjoy us enjoying the holiday. Mama always took us to Wolff & Marx downtown to shop because they had a Santa that had a real beard, and they let the kids play in the aisles with the toys. Aunt Oakie always took us to Joske's to see the Christmas scenes in the windows. I thought that Santa Claus went from one store to the other.
The biggest Christmas we had was getting the new bicycles. Another year I got a bride doll. She also had roller skates and all kinds of clothes. Her name was Nanette. All my dolls had names and later all my daughters' dolls did, too. Some kids just call their dolls "Baby," but all ours had names, even the rag dolls.
On Christmas Eve, Mama and Bobby Joe and I always went to the Christmas program at church. It was a children's program. Sometimes Daddy stayed home and played Santa Claus. On Christmas morning, we went to Grandma's and Aunt Oakie's house. At their house, they had a saying that whoever said "Christmas gift" first got the gifts from everybody else. You had to say it first thing out of your mouth when you came in. I don't remember anybody ever getting the gifts, so it was just a saying.
Mama was from a German background, and in their traditions Santa Claus put the Christmas tree up on Christmas Eve and it would stay up until January 6th for the 12 days of Christmas. Daddy convinced Mama that it was bad luck to leave the tree up past New Year's, but it was really because he was afraid of fire.
On Easter we dyed eggs and made an Easter nest. Sometimes we got baby chicks at the feed store that were colored for Easter. They usually ended up at Aunt Ellie's or Grandma's because they both had chickens. Later, when he was in business, Bobby Joe tried giving away colored chicks, but no one would take them. I think they didn't like the fact that they were colored, and also by then they couldn't have livestock in town.
For Halloween, we had costumes and went trick-or-treating door-to-door at the neighbors--way far spread. I remember one year Aunt Oakie made us costumes that I called the Orange Witch and Wizard. It had a witch's hat and orange skirt and black top. Another year I remember going to Winn's and picking out a costume. When my own children were dressing up years later, the costumes were much more creative.
On Valentine's each classroom had a Valentine box and we gave cards to everybody in school.