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Christmas Past 1950

by Admin

While going through old family photos I came across this one taken on Christmas day 1950. Back in those days we lived on a lake north of Kansas City. Dad and I would always go out into the woods near the dam of the lake to find the perfect Christmas tree. We’d cut it down, haul it home, set it up and we’d all spend the evening decorating it while eating fresh made pop corn and singing Christmas songs. As we decorated the tree I would be wishing out loud for what I hoped Santa Claus would bring me for Christmas.

I can still smell the scent of the fresh cut pine tree in the air … ahhh the memories of by gone days are sweet – 🙂

What are your memories of Christmas past? Please share them with us in the comments section below.

Christmas 1950

Real Christmas Trees from days of old. Circa December 25, 1950. Bob Layson Collection.

16 comments to Christmas Past 1950

  • Mike McNally

    Wonderful Christmas memory and photo. I hope everyone had a Merry Christmas and that all will have a safe and Happy New Year…Mike

  • Michael Smith

    Saigon Christmas, the Best that I can ever remember. I hope everyone had a Merry Christmas, and a Better New Year, God Bless all my old Vietnam Gecko Family.

  • H.Clark

    Oh Christmas tree
    Oh Christmas tree

    Thy leaves are so unchanging…

    It was one year before I was even born! That means you’ve have been blessed with many more gifts from Santa Claus. The final question is if you remember all what you have received that year?

    Happy New Year 2015 to you and your family.


    • Huong – Yes, I remember vividly the presents I got that Christmas.

      Red Ryder BB GunAn official Daisy Red Ryder 1000 shot carbine action BB gun. Very kids dream come true. My dad had given me his .22 Cal. rifle (from when he was a kids) on my 5th birthday. It had been his father’s rifle who handed it down to my dad. It was made in 1885. But, I wasn’t allowed to use it unless I was with dad or another adult. So, having my very own BB rifle that I could use by myself was awesome (as it was for all boys back in those days). Of course our dad’s and grand father’s taught us proper gun safety and usage so accidents were very few and far between.

      Western Flyer BicycleA Western Flyer bicycle – deluxe model trimmed out with the works. Horn, head light, reflectors, even a secret compartment. It was awesome. But, when I got a few years older the *cool* thing to do was to *hot rod* your bicycle by stripping all the fancy stuff off it, chopping the rear fender, and painting pin strips on it, etc. We were too young to get cars yet, so *hot roding* our bikes was the *cool* thing to do instead – LOL.

      Cub Scout KnifeAn official Cub Scout multi-tool pocket knife. Boy did I show that off at school. Back in those days the schools didn’t have a problem with kids carrying pocket knives. Of course our parents taught us proper knife safety and usage. Every man carried a pocket knife. And, boys couldn’t wait to get their first pocket knife. It was kind of a right of passage – that you were old enough and responsible enough to have our very own pocket knife, just like your dad and grand father had.

      Hopalong Cassidy Outfits

      Official Hopalong Cassidy cowboy outfit, complete with cowboy shirt, vest, chaps, boots and hat.

      Gene Autry Cap Gun

      A pair of official Gene Autry Colt .44 gold Cap Gun six shooters (pistols) with holsters and belt.

      Lash LaRueAn official Lash LaRue black bull whip (he was a popular movie cowboy who used his whip to take down the bad guys.

      A real bow and arrow. Up until then I’d been making my own out of tree branches, which didn’t really work all that great. So a *real* 35 pound bow with *real* arrows was a supper treat. Came with 6 target tip arrows and 4 hunting tip arrows. I was only allowed to use the hunting tip arrows when dad and I went bull frog hunting. It made frog hunting more fun for me then gigging frogs like my dad and his friends did.

      A pair of official Long Ranger (and Tonto) heavy duty flannel pajamas for those freezing cold winter nights. It wasn’t uncommon for winter temperatures to drop down to *minus 20 degrees*, and blizzards were frequent with 6 to 10 foot snow drifts.

      A pair of wool sock moccasins to keep my feet warm around the house. They where heavy wool socks with leather moccasin sloes sewed on them.

      A pair of ice skates. When the lake would freeze over in the winter my parents would invite all their friends out on the weekends for ice skating parties. Dad would drill a hole in the ice with an auger to make sure the ice was at least 6″ thick. Once the ice was 6″ or more thick it was save to skate on it without worrying about it breaking and people falling through the ice. Dad would always be the first one to skate as he had to clear all the snow off the ice before anyone could ice skate. He made a snow plow of sorts out of wood. It was about 6 feet wide with a long handle on it. He’d skate around pushing the plow in front of him to clear the snow off the ice leaving a nice snow free area for everyone to skate — well, until the next snow fall … then he’d have to plow it off again before the next weekend. We’d build a big bon fire on the lake shore between the boat dock and the sea wall. They’d keep a big pot of coffee and a pot of hot chocolate going on the fire, and of course a supply of marsh mellows for roasting on the fire. So we’d go skate until we got too cold, then come back by the fire to warm up and drink hot chocolate while roasting and eating marsh mellows. Then back to skating again. We’d skate all afternoon and late into the night. Was great fun.

      Santa stuffed my stocking, hanging on the fire place, with some oranges, apples, nuts and Christmas ribbon candy.

      I also got a winter sweater, winter flannel lined jeans, winter wool socks, and a new flannel shirt.

      Not a bad Christmas haul for a 7 year old snot nosed kid – LOL – 🙂

      Holiday wishes to you and yours. May you receive many, many blessings in the New Year!!

      • H.Clark

        Bob and Kevin,

        Christmas is a wonderful time of the year when dreams do come true. I love to hear those Christmas stories, especially what happened before I was born, told by my parents or friends. Every once in a while I heard stories from John, but nothing come close to what you have been blessed with. He was born in Long Island, New York, and grew up in the East Coast. I got to see the photos of him and his brother playing with kids on top of big piles of snow as high up to the roof. I also heard about Hopalong. John played with cap guns (?), BB guns, never a real gun until he joined the military.

        It’s amazing you remember all that you have received down to the winter sweater, winter flannel lined jeans, winter wool socks, and a new flannel shirt. They remind me of how the boy in A Christmas Story was so well dressed up that he was unable to fold his arms. At any rate, I think you have been blessed. Not a bad Christmas haul for a 7-year-young snot nosed kid, indeed 🙂

        For me, in 1961, when I was 10, I started to like the cowboy outfit, boots and vest, the movies One-Eyed Jacks with Marlon Brando and movies with good guys taking down bad guys… with guns or with swords, and, yes, I remember Les Freres Corses movie at the Rex Cinema in Sai Gon. These movies took me away to faraway places and my imagination ran wild ever since. Little that I know then, I would live in the states and got to visit Corsica.

        Oh, I forgot that I told Kevin I had my picture taken with Fess Parker, who played Daniel Boone, in my office at the USO in Sai Gon while I was working there. I was so fascinated about the American Indians, their way of life, and love their hats with plumes. I also had wish to own a coonskin hat like Daniel Boone’s. Imagine that!


        • H.Clark

          One correction – my memory fails me. One-Eyed Jack’s movie was made in 1961, but it didn’t make it to VN until later, more like when I was 15. However, I started to like the cowboy movies as early as when I was 10. That stemmed from some similar movies that I can’t recall the titles. The One-Eyed Jacks and Les Freres Corsets (The Corsica Brothers, American version was made later) do stick with me.


        • Huoug – Fess Parker was both Davy Crockett and Daniel Boone.

          He played Davy Crockett in the 1954-56 TV series which started the *coonskin cap* merchandising frenzy.

          He played Daniel Boone in the 1964-70 TV series.


          • H.Clark

            Thank you, Bob! I didn’t know that Fess Parker was both Davy Crockett and Daniel Boone. I believe I never saw the earlier Davy Crockett episodes. Back in the days, I enjoyed the actions in the TV shows more than paying attention to the English spoken words, too fast for my untrained ears. Loved to see how the good guy always won. I remember we would drop everything to sit down in front of the TV screen when we heard the inviting theme song, the booming men voices (Ed Ames, Fess Parker, and Darby Hinton) singing “Daniel Boone was a man… Yes, a big man…” Well, Fess Parker was a tall man of 6’5.” When my boss invited him to Sai Gon and into our office, I was thrilled! I was totally in disbelief when I met him, seeing him not in the pioneer costume and hunting accessories also seemed strange. He appeared to be just as nice and gentle in person as the person he portrayed on TV.

            I was “pleasantly” surprised continuously when I arrived here to learn that my future mother-in-law was a descendant of the Crockett family; her maiden name is Crockett. To this end, I still do not own a “coonskin cap,” but I had met with Fess Parker and later became part of a Crockett’s descendant’s family. I couldn’t wish for more. It blows my mind!

            My sister-in-law, who is not good at computers and stuff, has been on her quest to researching the ancestry, family tree, trying to connect the dots. She has been at it for a couple of years now and thus far has got some good results. She found and communicated with some long lost relatives. This project is still in progress.

            Different subject on some fun facts – Since we had talked about the full moon and the strawberry moon on Friday 13th previously, you might like to know “the moon will be full on Christmas 2015; I don’t know if it’s strawberry moon or not, but in 2015, my BD will be on a Friday the 13th !!! I’ve checked this to be sure and as they say, it’s as dead as a doornail.” LOL.


            • Huong – Yes, Fess Parker was tall man at 6’6″ tall. During WWII he enlisted in the Navy with hopes of becoming a pilot, but he was too tall to fit in the cockpit of the planes. So, he decided to become a radioman, but again he Navy said he was too tall. He then transferred to the Marine Corps where he became a radioman. I guess the USMC didn’t have a problem with his height – LOL.

              An interesting tidbit. After his acting career he start his own winery in California. The *Logo* for his Winery has a *coonskin cap* in it — 🙂


  • Kevin L. Wells



    Another kid that proved that you would NOT “…..shoot your eye out kid!”

    I had no idea of the penalty for misbehavior with a BB gun and had no wish to confirm the worst-case scenario I imagined.

    In my estimation, no bicycle was fully tricked-out until the playing card was clipped to the frame with the edge engaging the spokes for that engine-like roar at speed.

    For me, the recurved bow with a 30 pound pull arrived on my 10th Christmas. The uncle who sent it did no without permission and like the BB gun, I had no idea about the penalty for misuse. There was a target set up behind the garage and once I was sworn to the rules, there were no casualties other than the occasional string slap on the inside of my left arm.

    The town skating pond was about 15 acres and was right out of a Currier and Ives print and best of all, was within walking distance. There were pick-up style hockey games self-organized more or less by age group. I suspected that the few ‘dults that brought hot chocolate may have had the antifreeze-enhanced versions because after they started on the hot-chocolate, they stopped skating.

    Scituate was a good place to be a feral kid!


    • Kevin – ROFL – 🙂

      Weren’t those fun years!

      When it came to BB guns (or any kind of fire arms) the first thing I was taught is that “…you never point it at anyone or anything unless you are going to kill them or it …” Secondly, if I ever did point it at anyone, it would be taken away from me forever and I’d face sever punishment. What that punishment was I never found out, but could only imagine worst … such as, being buried alive in a standing position with only my head above ground. Then having honey poured on my head and left for the ants to come and feast on me … yeah, I guess I saw too many cowboy movies — ha ha ha.

      Hmmm … antifreeze in the hot chocolate. That could explain why they always had 2 pots of hot chocolate on the fire — one for the adults and one for us kids.

      Yeah, playing cards on the spokes was awesome. And, if you could manage to get 4 cards on both sides of each wheel (properly spaced so they didn’t hit each other) you had the *hottest* bike engine in town … vroom vroommmm … The only thing better would be if all the cards on your bike where the *Jokers*, cuz Jokers are WILD!

      Weren’t the old wooden clothes pins cool?! They had so many uses only limited by the imagination of us kids – LOL.

      A couple years later when we moved to the middle of the Mojave desert in California I discovered that if you stand directly over a Gila Monster lizard with the tip of your arrow about 12″ above it and try to kill it, an arrow with a razor sharp hunting tip just … bounces off the back of the Gila.

      My dessert years are stories for another time of rattle snakes, side winders, jack rabbits, gila monsters, turtles, horny toads, catus, cyotes, flash floods and Indians …

      Rock Onnn …


  • Kevin L. Wells

    By the way.

    I heard that the most popular hot chocolate antifreeze was rum.


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