Monday, December 12, 2016


This advent visit with my grandmother, Ina Dobson (1870-1957) is not a chronological history but rather a sharing of some of my favorite Christmas passages from her writings and those of other family members. 

In the ‘30s – and probably before – Ina hosted Christmas parties for family and friends, doing her best to stretch her limited resources so that they could “all be children and have a lot of fun out of it.” But – in the course of a lifetime, things do change. By the ‘40s, Grandpa Jack was ailing, their children all lived away, and the world was at war. In 1946, Grandpa Jack died. I mention it because we all face these kinds of changes from time to time, but perhaps we can take encouragement from Ina’s “chronicle” of the Christmas of ’46.

I meant to come to Portland (OR) for Christmas, then got word to stay put till I heard further [due to the illness of family members], so I settled down to writing letters and cards, and planned to spend Christmas at June’s. Then I got a telegram to come on to Portland as soon as possible.

[Arriving at Lynn’s,] I rested that day and Lynn went out and got a nice little tree, just right for size and shape, and for only 25 cents, much to our surprise. Next day was fine and sunny and we went down town to do our last shopping. The shops were beautiful with all sorts of gay and clever Christmas displays. The markets were a dream of luscious foods, and I wished for Dickens to describe them for me; turkeys, geese, ducks, fat chickens, beef roasts and cuts of all kinds, hams, bacon, pork roasts and chops, cranberries as big as cherries, bags and baskets of nuts (the biggest walnuts and filberts I ever saw), jars of mincemeat, pies, cakes, and cookies of every sort, baskets filled with the finest fruits, and all wrapped in colored cellophane. I kept falling behind to admire things, while Lynn went blithely on her way among the happy people.


Hallie said...

The city must have seemed so alive compared to quiet farm life. How old was Jack when he died and how old would Ina have been that year?

I love the cards. It is a tragedy that this art form is disappearing!

Kathy said...

Jack was 82 or 83 when he died in 1946. Ina was born Nov. 7, 1870, so she had turned 76. Yes, this Christmas was probably very different from any she had ever known, but she seems to have enjoyed it.

I found I could increase my supply of vintage cards through Etsy sellers. Trouble is, I can't remember which I've already posted. Oh well.

Hallie said...

If you can't remember, there's a good chance the rest of us can't either! Sometimes I'll see one that looks familiar and assume it's one that was from your personal stash.