Sepia Saturday – The Provenance of our Christmas Stockings

Sepia Saturday provides bloggers with an opportunity to share their history through the medium of photographs. Historical photographs of any age or kind become the launchpad for explorations of family history, local history and social history in fact or fiction, poetry or prose, words or further images. If you want to play along, sign up to the link, try to visit as many of the other participants as possible, and have fun.

The boy on the right in the prompt photo doesn’t look thrilled with his large overflowing Christmas stocking. My sister doesn’t look thrilled either.

She may have spent most of Christmas morning a bit out of sorts.

Her sisters, however, are happily engaged with gifts from Santa.

One earlier Christmas morning, it was just me and one little sister. My Christmas stocking is visible behind us. It looks like my sister’s stocking is one of Dad’s socks with a red ribbon attached.

Going back further in time, I’m the little one and there is an oversize Christmas stocking more along the size of those in the prompt photo. My mom probably got it at Sears, since that is where she worked.

When we moved to Great Bend, Kansas, we lived next door to an older couple, Mr. and Mrs. Chaney. At the time, it was just my parents and me. Mr. Chaney was retired from the railroad. Mrs. Chaney and I developed a relationship over Solitaire. She taught me several versions of the game and we spent many afternoons playing Solitaire “together”. It is a pastime I still enjoy. Thanks, Mrs. Chaney!

Dad(Jjim) says that he and mom often played bridge with the Chaneys. When I asked what their first names were he said he didn’t know and wondered if he ever did. They were always Mr. and Mrs. Chaney to him. They were the age of his parents, so it makes sense, although I’ll bet my mom knew their names!

Dad also remembers that Mrs. Chaney got a kick out of my first-born sister Karla, who knew where Mrs. Chaney kept cookies and would go and stand in front of the cabinet and wait. Of course, she always got a cookie.

Why have I gone on about the Chaney’s? Because Mrs. Chaney made my sisters’ Christmas stockings. They still look pretty good today!

We moved before Kristie was born, but Mrs. Chaney made her a matching stocking and sent it to her. The last one made is not hand-stitched like the others, so some of the sequins are missing. Mom told my sisters that Mrs. Chaney was getting older by that time and maybe wasn’t up to the task of hand stitching.

I don’t know where my stocking originated, but I think Mrs. Chaney fixed it up for me – adding lots of bling with sequins and a handle for hanging. Her handwork is still holding up, but the blanket stitching along the edge is coming apart.

My husband’s maternal grandmother made his stocking. She used a kit that came with all the components. He said she also made a beautiful Christmas tablecloth from a kit. His stocking is lovely, but I don’t know what’s up with the red-faced snowman. It needs a bit of repair and I keep meaning to do it, but at first I didn’t have the required beading needle plus all of the beads are sewn with one continuous thread and, well – I just haven’t done it.

At one time I made a stocking for my husband. Were we dating? Recently married, but without his childhood stocking? I don’t remember. I copied the armadillos from some of his doodles – he was always drawing armadillos at the time. The armadillo on the left is doing “Hook ’em Horns” and the one of the right is doing the “Sic ’em Bears.” This stocking is in need of work! I sewed the beading of his name, but everything else I glued on (probably in a hurry, as usual!), and things have fallen off – the wreath, the snowman’s hat, the angel’s wings, some tree ornaments … ūüôĀ

Hmm – now that I think about those armadillos, I may have made this stocking during our junior year of college, when my husband left Baylor for a detour year at UT.

My mother-in-law made stockings for our children. They are really cute. Unfortunately, some of the felt provided in the kits has faded over time.

Santa brought a puppy to our first daughter when she was in second grade. She named the puppy Ginger Noel. The following Christmas she made a very large stocking for Ginger.

The last stocking I’ll share is one my husband and I bought at a craft sale in New England pre-children. We use it whenever someone is in need of a Christmas stocking. Santa put a few things in it for our son-in-law this year.

Well, I’m late to the party this week. We have entered the 12 days of Christmas, so Christmas isn’t really over, but the Saturday in Sepia Saturday was four days ago! Oh well.

Find more holiday cheer by visiting other participants at this link: Sepia Saturday!

Sepia Saturday – A lunch counter memory

California Historical Society : Sepia Saturday Theme Image 418

Sepia Saturday provides bloggers with an opportunity to share their history through the medium of photographs.

The Sepia Saturday theme image this week features an illustration of the longest lunch counter in the world, which was in the F W Woolworth store in Los Angeles.

The image brings back a memory from my childhood which I wish was as vivid as this illustration, but instead is a bit vague. I was not blessed with the best memory.

Dancing with my baby sister Dec. 1963

The little snippet of my life that this brings to mind occurred in Great Bend, Kansas. I’m placing it in the fall of 1963 or spring of 1964. I would have been 11 years old.

I went shopping without a parent – or anyone, as I recall it. My mission to was purchase a 45 rpm record and I was excited about going without supervision.

I successfully completed my transaction and decided to feel my independent oats and treat myself to something at the lunch counter in the dime store. Maybe it was a Woolworths. I don’t remember.

When I sat down I noticed a little shelf under the counter where you could put your belongings, so I stashed my purchase there. I proceeded to get lost in ice cream or thoughts or sights or sounds, finished whatever I was eating, and left…

…without the bag containing the first-time-I-ever-went-shopping-by-myself-record!

When I realized what I had done, I hurried back to the store and searched the shelf under the lunch counter, but the flat paper bag containing my newly purchased favorite hit song was not there. Angry at myself, sad, and dejected, I walked home empty-handed.

I don’t remember what record I lost that day. I think it was something by the Beach Boys.

I do know what I bought the next time I went shopping as a wiser-from-experience-girl: Sugar Shack, recorded by Jimmy Gilmer and the Fireballs. Sugar Shack was in the top 10 on the Billboard Hot 100 list for 10 weeks in 1963, beginning the week of October 5th, and hit the #1 spot on October 12th.

This makes me wonder if I was shopping with birthday money, as my birthday is in October. I’m pretty sure I went back to the lunch counter after making my purchase – just to prove that I had learned my lesson.

I liked to imagine that little coffee shop made out of wood and its mighty good expresso coffee. It all sounded hip and romantic. I can still sing along without missing a word.

Sugar Shack earned a gold record and Billboard ranked it as the No. 1 song for 1963. Jimmy Gilmer and the Fireballs¬†recorded it at the Norman Petty Studio in Clovis, New Mexico. I’m not much of a music historian, so why does this matter to me? Well, our family’s third residence after leaving Great Bend was in … Clovis, NM. I had just graduated from high school two weeks before our move to Clovis, so I only spent a couple of summers there before and during college. I didn’t learn about Clovis’s musical fame. I never heard of Norman Petty or his studio. Buddy Holly, Roy Orbison, and many others recorded at the same studio. Norman Petty was kind of a big deal, I’ve now learned.

That unique organ riff in Sugar Shack was played on a 1940s Hammond Solovox organ Рadded by Norman Petty after the recording session had ended and Jimmy Gilmer and the Fireballs had left the studio.

In addition to adding that extra special something that could push your rock and roll recording to the top of the charts, the Solovox organ could bring your family back to your long neglected piano.

Or perk up your party!

Hammond Solovox 1948 Ad

I wish I’d known about Norman Petty and his connection to Sugar Shack when I lived in Clovis. I would surely have paid the studio a visit. At least I can take a tour of the studio and the Rock & Roll Museum in Clovis via the internet and get a glimpse of the Solovox too.

An image of Norman Petty (seated at a counter) and an audio interview of him.

Have a seat at the lunch counter and see what others have served up today at Sepia Saturday.