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  • Betty Girardeau

Christmas in the Mists of time #1


What are some of your earliest memories of Christmas? Like most of us, I expect they are pretty spotty. The very first one that I can recall was probably Christmas 1945 when I was three. I vaguely remember the Christmas tree. But what I especially remember are three of the gifts I received. One was a wooden shoe with little wooden people representing The Old Woman Who Lived in a Shoe and her children. You could pull the figures out by untying the shoe lace and opening the tongue. There was a hole in the back of the shoe, too, so you could poke the children back into the shoe that way, too. Several years later that shoe lace was the one on which I practiced while learning to tie a bow. Another one was a small bench with wooden pegs and a hammer. You could hammer the pegs down into a hole on the bench, and after hammering several of them they would start to come out of a hole in the side of the bench. It was called a Bango Bench. I loved it, and miraculously, I still have it and most of the pegs. It looks a little worse for wear, but it is still a fun toy. I know because I just played with it again! Another toy that I received that Christmas and still have is a wooden set of stackable rings, each ring being a different size and color. Mine along with the Bango Bench and the Old Woman in the Shoe, were made by Holgate Toys, a company that was established in 1789 and is still in business making educational toys for young children today. I started looking up some information about the company and found pictures of quite a few other toys that I remember receiving in subsequent Christmases, like two sets of blocks. These were great toys and it is easy to understand how this company has remained in business for 231 years. A link to EBay when I was researching Holgate Toys showed a picture of someone selling a Stackable Wooden Block Tree like mine. It is described as "rare" and "vintage." Hummm. Does that mean I am rare and vintage, too?

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