Happy Holidays - from 55 Years Ago

Tuesday, December 6, 2011


(The Fountain House, originally an inn, is not only our house, but gives its name to an area about a mile square; that’s why it is really a part of our mailing address.)

Fountain House, R.D. 2, Saegertown, Pennsylvania


Yesterday, I posted Mom and Dad's Christmas Letter from 1951. But I also located their annual letter from five years later. So here it is, with happy wishes to all - and a realization that one problem solved doesn't mean all complications are solved forever. (Ah, memories of having to evacuate when the coal furnace mentioned in the 1951 letter went berserk and filled the house with coal smoke and attendant fumes. Hence, the gas furnace noted in the 1956 letter.) May your coming year have more triumphs and fewer challenges ...

Dear Friends, Relations, Stockholders, and Hockholders,

1956-plus has been a year chiefly composed of beginnings. While such things as the April to October rainy season, classes, the 87 quarts of peaches and 4 bushels of tomatoes we put up, and Katy's getting bigger and more fun seemed to have neither beginning nor end, the year was packed with such New Year's Days as those few we have space to record below. Most of these days initiated such interesting chains of happiness that we shall have to let you extrapolate much of the fun we've had for yourselves. We have run this report on into 1957 because the procession of New Year's Days showed no slackening by the first of the calendar year (and occupied so much of our attention that we had no break in which to report the beginnings already behind us).

Apr. 3, Molly's New Years making her nine years old, tall, blonde, busy, Brownie Scout.

Sometime this month we got a new-to-us radio to bring more and better music.

May 26, Katy's Christening, with Kathryn Hamilton and Gay and Peter McGee as sponsors.

A family New Year's, we hadn’t seen Pete since 1943, nor previously met Gay or cousins Woody and Jamie who stayed for a wonderful two-day visit.

June 7, Katy's Second New Year's, making her one year old, fat and sassy and fun.

July 9, the family's first RBBB Circus (sitting on straw and loving every moment).

20th, began the girls' annual Week in Oberlin with Grandmother McGee.

30th, the Saegertown Marching Band began daily rehearsals for the coming year.

Aug. 11, Mother Curtis' annual visit, which wound up with our getting a trip to Ithaca to take her home and to see Pat and Frank, Bettie and Ote, and all six cousins.

27th, Public School began, as usual at least a week too early to suit us.

7th or 21st? Bill and Alice and Ann Davidson dropped in for a too brief visit.

Sept. 6, First Annual Appearance of the Saegertown Band. (Mother McGee came to see it.)

17th, Betsy's New Years makes her the same age as Jack Benny? (or so he says.)

Oct. 22, Betsy's Intellectual New Years, with mimeographing of her ponderous paper on liberal education and the proposed non-resident quarter system for Oberlin.

24th (I think), an overnight visit from Mary Helen and Pete Whaley and young.

Nov. 20, Pearl, the Pure White Stove, replaced old Una the Universal who conked out.

22nd, Thanksgiving-New Year's for the McGee family, the first time all Mother McGee's grandchildren had all been together and the first time in fifteen years that she and her children had been all together (in her Oberlin apartment). Now that Chuck and family are near Chicago, we'll hope to make this a yearly do.

28th, New Year's Day for Betsy’s teeth.

29th, Margaret's New Year's. (Judy is known as Margaret or Maggie for the purpose of deconfusing school teachers.) Fourteen years old, tenth grader, tall as her mother but purtier and thinner.

Dec. 11, Ed's New Years made him the same age as Betsy. New Year's Day also for a brown suit (to take the strain off the one he was married in 15 ¼ years ago.)

22nd, New Year's Day for The Fountain House, when title passed from Florence and Bill Reid to Ed and Bets. (The New Mortgage included the costs of Phoebus, Cyrene, Georch, white aluminum lap siding, and some needed electrical repairs.)

Jan. 23-25, New Year's Days for Phoebus the Phurnace (gas) and his pipes which heat even the second floor, and for Cyrene the Cyclic (automatic water heater, also known as Phoebus' Phancy) now faithfully responsible for the Cleaner Curtises.

Feb. 13, New Year's Day for Doorbells, Wallplugs, and the Heavy Equipment Circuit.

15th, New Year's Day for the White White Fountain House and Georch the Porch.

Mar. 5, Woodwork, walls, ceiling of the livingroom freshly painted with Mother M's help.

So … Happy New Year's and all intervening holidays from KATE, MOLLY, JUDY, BETS & ED.


Eric Hoffman December 13, 2011 at 9:49 AM  

Maggie Thompson,
I'm trying to reach you to request permission to use an interview you conducted with Dave Sim in the early 1980s for a collection of Dave Sim interviews to be published by University of Mississippi Press. I can be reached at diamondjoecity at gmail dot com.
Eric Hoffman

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