Newspaper Archive of
Harlan News-Advertiser
Harlan, Iowa
December 22, 1989     Harlan News-Advertiser
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December 22, 1989

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com00to 00oot,s00 him. 9.: 4-2 note: We couldn&apos;t pick a single winner, letters were all excellent. a $10.00 gift certificate will be sent to each. Merry Christmas to all. I 0 . w  ab" %O'e 7r,e-" Readers describe their memorable Christmas Memories .. sirens .. andflashing lights00 .. sirens.., flashing lights. I wonder if a will ever pass without our fleeting thoughts of They are symbols to us of the true meaning of - the goodness and caring of people who have all r lives. had a house fire. Simple as that - no need to it, no need to glamorize it, no need to deny it. symbols bring back the flood of good will and showed to us at this most difficult and yet most 1 Christmas of our lives. .. Sirens screaming the call for help, from the police sirens responding to the emergency to the "sirens" of simple, genuine voices offering ,,, responded each and every time knowing it would be a bru- tally cold and painful experience. They tried to save what we treasured, did what they could. We will thank them in our hearts forever, they were there when we needed them. t When it became all too apparent we would not be able to t_ live in our home for some time, we called friends, "Can we come over, we need a place to stay?" Bear in mind, we are referring to a childless couple whose lives were organized and structured. We bought into their home despair, confu- ..a_ sion, and total commotion, baby bottles and diapers, three year old inquisitiveness and fear of the unknown. The most wonderful words we could have heard; "You can stay here at long as you need," with a moments hesitation, without A thought to what chaos this would bring to their holidays [ too! This was the beginning of an outpouring of generosity that we in small town Iowa can be proud off The word fu'e strikes terror in all our hearts. It's devasta- tion is swift and irreparable. In the aftermath, people re- sponded in ways we never dreamed of. From the neighbor offering clothes and bottles for the baby, to the "big boys" who knew my husband would need "big" boots and coats for a "big" job ahead, to the people who brought food in boxes, to the guy opened his store for us to get personal items Add to that the people who called and offered their ._ homes, they were going to be gone over the holidays, and the guy in the office who offered to help take inventory of t what was a sodden, cold, smoky mess, plus the guys who sponsored a dinner, and the fund at the banks to help us get through Christmas, and most precious of all the voice over the phone that just says I'm sorry, let me know how I can A help. This makes up the spirit of Christmas, the giving, I the caring, the selflessness that is always there. A We learned we could live without our material things, grandmother's china, grandpa's violin, the children's beloved Teddy bear. We gained so much more in the end, memories and feelings that can never be forgotten! Superman... Sirens... Flashing Lights - it will al- ways mean Christmas to us/ Lights... The goodness of volunteer firemen in the middle of the night to help us when we them most. .. Our three-year-old watching T.V. in the of the night, not quite understanding what was hap- around him, too excited for sleep, taking full advan- of this opportunity. Joy of joys, Superman was oa This truly was a magical night for him, fire trucks in regalia, a ride in the police car and Superman on T.V. top a night like this! .was Saturday, Dec. 20, 1981, 20 degrees below zero with a nasty wind. My husband partially awoke to SOund of a crackling fire and dreams of a campfire. Then set in, with it terror! It wasn't a campfire, it was our room engulfed in flames. With two small children a wife asleep he reacted immediately. "Get Up, Fire, Thus began our lessons on the goodness and caring community! the firemen, it would have been easy to stay at this call, I would have been tempted myself. they came; their hoses creating an instant sheet of 0n our sloping driveway. Like an old Keystone Cop they slipped and fell, slipped and fell trying to fight they couldn't win. Fighting equipment freeze-up blaze that was not to be controlled this was definitely volunteer fireman. was the umpteenth call they had that winter- they  . Terri Cox, 1411 10th St., Harlan "Magic of Christmas"stiff remains the barn door and sneaked in ever so quietly. *'two of us sat down on our milking stools back against all. We watched and waited. After about 15 or 20 Dad nudged me. There was Goldie getting up. She --* ......... .... :f t: t: -- t t: V: t. , . , ,- . t: f t; Santa found the pans @ always came to our house after we went to bed eve. of course, it was rough getting to sleep, awake before 4 a.m. to be at Mass at 4:30. a big house with a full story attic. You had to go the room where my two big brothers slept to get stairs. a Christmas Eve., Mother always encouraged us to take the kitchen up to the at- so that Santa couldn't find them. Each year we hiding places. Yet, there they were on Christmas morning, under the tree! Dishpans and bowls filled with apples, oranges, can- dies and goodies from Santa's sack. I couldn't believe he could pass through my brother's room and up those stairs and not be detected, somehow. How I wished that I slept there. You can be very sure he darn well would not have got by me/ Bonnie Peterson 1603 Cheyenne Ave., Harlan @ @ a_ stood and stretched and stretched. Soon Teena stood up and stretched. Then Blackie, Spec and Sylva stood and stretched, t m All 13 of our milk cows stood up and stretched. They re- mained in standing position for at least 10 minutes. Then slowly the cows began to recline - one after the other. Only then did my father say anything. "Come let's go back to the house. It is Christmas." < The next morning Pop called us. "Let's get chores done b._ so we can go to church." Each cow got an extra measure of ground feed. Goldie licked my hand and mooed. Yes, Merry Christmas to you too, Goldie and to all the other cows. My brother had to feed the horses. Each got an extra measure of oats. Boots, our riding horse, even got an apple. It was Christmas/A Christmas I'tl always remember. Mrs Leonard Bruck, Portsmouth. Kermit Clark was the type of kid who really got under your skin. He was a chubby, spectacled first grader. He was that one, big shot first grader who thought he knew every- thing about anything and anybody. He was also the one who said there was no such thing as Santa Clausl I remember it like it was yesterday... We first graders were standing in line outside the lunchroom. Kermit was being a big shot again, and the rest of us boys were letting him have it, setting him straight. Suddenly, as if to get even, he blurted out, "You sissies still believe in Santa Claus, and I know there's no such thingl" Now the commotion really started as ff a fhecracker had just exploded. Someone, in a shocked voice, said, "What are you talking about, "Kermit?" He spoke up as if he had rehearsed his answer, "Do you guys really think a big fat man can land on your roof with a herd of deer and then climb down the chimney with a bag full of presents?" That's what really ticked you off about that kid; he was so darned logical, and he knew it. "Well, uh, um, yes, of course he can - how else do we get all those presents?" I said it before anyone else, but I could feel the desperation in my voice. Kermit, again, was quick to respond, "Your mom and dad put those presents under the tree after you go to bed. You guys are really sissies if you still believe in Santa Claus." I felt as if I'd been hit in the gut... "No Santa Claus, no reindeer-, no elves, no Rudolph; no, this can't be true!" I was just about ready to hit Kermit in the gut when our teacher interrupted our arguing. That was all I could think about the rest of the day. Heck, I couldn't even finish my lunch or have fun at recess. was right?[ What if there was no Santa! Well, it took me about a week before I got up enough courage to ask my morn. My heart was pounding, and my palms were sweaty when I finally popped the question. "Mom, Kermit Clark says there's no Santa Claus That's not true, is it?" It wasn't meant to be a question, but some- thing was wrong here. She didn't answer quickly, and she had this funny look on her face. "Kermit told you that, huh. Well, Jeff, urn, uh, I'm afraid he's right. I can't lie to you. You're old enough to know the truth, I guess. Let's still play along with your little brother, though, ok." I could feel the tears swelling up in my eyes. The shock was settling in. I couldn't cry, though. No way was I going to give Kermit that satisfaction. "But Mom, what about all the presents from Santa, leav- ing cookies and milk, the waiting upstairs for him to come, and Rudolph and the elves?" "Well, Honey, your dad and I gave you the presents and ate the cookies and milk. Everything else is make-believe; it's the magic of Christmas." .. After many years and many Christmases later, I still remember that day in the lunchline with big shot Kermit. I ' also still remember the magic that Christmas and Santa Claus had on a little kid. But the magic remains if you let it. It's the love and sharing that occur during Christmas that make it magical. Maybe there is no Santa Claus who actu- ally lives at the North Pole, but in spirit there are Santa Clauses all around the world. I knew I had to ask my morn, but what if big shot Kermit  Jeff Barry, Harlan swaddling clothes, lying in a manger." time ago, on a cold Christmas eve, my father  hard to make my Christmas a bit happier This -. took place in 1932, but I can shut my eyes and still the event that took place that Christmas. Dad said, "How would you like to see a Christmas The cows stand up at midnight to honor the Christ If you would go with me, he said, I'll bed the milk down with nice clean straw." Since it was so cold, kept the milk cows in the cow barn at night. the clock chimed 11:30, Daddy said, "Put on your )and coat, mittens and overshoes and do as I tell you. make any noise, don't talk or even shuffle your feet will spook the cows." The two of us headed for the Daddy carried a little kerosene lantern which he low so there was barely any light. F Sec B - Pg. 7B " lan IA News Advertiser I ri. morn., Dee. 22, lg89) Phone 755,-3111 .. or Tradition From then on, they had a Christmas tree It was a family of six, three boys and three girls. The  My dad thought that if by some special means he could oldest of the children was 12 years old. The mother of the  get a tree and get it decorated before his papa came in the children had died the year before. This left the oldest of the next night, Christmas Eve, he would make his father very six children, who was only 12 years old, in charge of the family. She dropped out of school and took over the posi- tion of mother. This was my father's family, Carl Anastasi, 50 years ago, on their farm home near Westphalia. You can imagine how this young family got along. My grandfather spent all of his time farming and earning enough money to keep this hungry bunch fed. He had little time for the children and even less time to worry about such minor details as Christmas. This first year without their mona was very hard. December rolled around and no motion was ever made that Christmas was just around the cA3rner. It was Dec. 23 and no plans had been made for any spe- cial activities for the 25th. Then my father decided it was time to get some ideas together so that Christmas did not just pass them by. The main idea in this nine-year-old's mind was that they must have a Christmas tree. He got his two brothers together and they climbed to the dark dusty at- tic. There they found ornaments and lights for a Christmas tree. A few hours later papa came home to find the ornaments in the center of the living room floor. Red in the face and angry as a raging bull, he gathered all the children around him. "We can not afford a Christmas tree and have no time for such nonsense," he screamed. "Now put all these things in the attic before I toss them out the front door!" The or- happy. A few minutes later he had a great idea. He would cut the top out of the great evergreen in the front yard and they would have the most beautiful tree ever. A few seconds later he had the ax, a ladder and his two brothers there to help. It took about a half hour and the tree was topped. A beautiful tree stood in the living room. The girls decorated the tree. It was the most beautiful tree they had even seen. The sun was setting as his father entered the house. Well, he had already noticed the top out of his precious evergreen and when he saw that tree in the house was he every angry. If you think that he was angry the night before you can think again. His face was white and his expression one that anyone would fear. Then he saw the happy smiling six children around the tree and the spirit of Christmas hit him. If something so little could make them so happy how could he be so angry. "We never went without a Christmas tree ever again and my family will never go without one as long as I am alive," says my father every Christmas. Christmas means different things to everyone. It had a great emotional impact on my father and because of his story, I will never let this tradition die in my family. naments were put back in the attic only to be retrieved thec,9 next day by my father. ,[[, Mary Jo (Anastasl) Sondag, Harlan :,.,. , In spite of the kid who knew everything - the cows honored the Christ Child%