Wednesday, November 30, 2016


“Well, “they say” you don’t have to answer a Christmas card – see – till next Christmas. It is more in the nature of a gift, so to speak, though I’ve always hated not to do so. My way is to get a supply of New Year cards; then if I’m caught a few lines on the card fixes it or the card alone, see! I sent Portfors a Christmas card this year and they hadn’t sent me one so Nina called me up and we had a nice chat.”Ina Dobson, Christmas 1934 *

Ina Dobson, c. 1940
I had planned to post a fictional Christmas adventure about my Grandmother Ina and her sister Bertha, the “Good Witches of Gilbert,” as an advent story. However, as October became November, I hadn’t finished the story, and worse than that, I hadn’t even started to make the props. I haven’t abandoned my story, but this year I need Ina to be herself instead of a character of my imagination. So, I have drawn from family correspondence once again to celebrate the warmth of an understated, old-fashioned Christmas.

Perhaps you'll recognize the words, the stories, and the pictures from previous posts, but that doesn’t matter. After all, Christmas means tradition, even though our traditions constantly change. To add to my inspiration, this year I purchased packets of vintage Christmas cards which I have scanned for sharing. I’m imagining that Ina sits down every day to review her collection of Christmas cards, old and new. The sentiments warm her heart as she ponders the deeper meaning of Christmas and the importance of family and friends.

I invite you to come back daily until Christmas Day to sit a minute or two with Ina. Perhaps you’ll bring a cup of tea or coffee (or hot chocolate) and maybe a Christmas cookie (be sure not to drop crumbs on your keyboard) as Ina shares memories and reviews a collection of mid-century Christmas cards. KW

*My paternal grandmother Ina Dickson Dobson refers to my maternal grandmother, Nina Saunders Portfors. The two families – the Dobsons and the Sanders (Saunders) – became acquainted when both farmed near Troy, Idaho, in the 1890s. But in 1934 when Grandma Ina wrote this, my mother was married to Fairly Walrath. KW

[The photo above was taken at Christmastime in 1935. Back row left are Fairly and Dorothy Portfors Walrath (my mother) and Dorothy's father, Grandpa C. O. (Charlie) Portfors. Seated in front of them are Grandma Nina Portfors holding Farrol Joan Walrath and to Grandma's left is Harriet Lee Walrath. To continue the back row: Sara and Francis Albert Portfors; Harry Lee Walrath; and Margaret and Ted Walrath. In front is Naomi Walrath holding Margot Walrath. Photo taken by Paul Seiffert at the home of Harry and Naomi Walrath.]


Hallie said...

I think the simplicity of years past is never a tired subject. The greatest gift of the holidays is being together. It doesn't take lots of presents under the tree to make a very lovely Christmas.

Kathy said...

I agree. The greatest gift is being together. However, Ina loved lots of packages under the tree. She would say, "A skimpy Christmas, with everyone well remembered." And when she couldn't afford to buy gifts, she put on her thinking cap and gave "like new" things from her household or things she made, etc. "People can do things like this," she would say. "No use to let everything go because of hard times."

Keri said...

I love this post! And it is so amazing and special to see the photo. Thank you for sharing!

Kathy said...

Thanks, Keri. I think this is a wonderful photo.