Mary Celestia Parler;
Mrs. Alice West
Eureka Springs, Ark.
December 11, 1954
Reel 203, Item 9
Fourth Of July And Christmas Customs
AW: ...well, anyway, with Lion coffee and Arbuckle you
got a coupon or something. Anyway we save 'em.
So I very well remember sending off and getting
six yards of blue I suppose was called voile, I
don't know. And anyway, I thought it was pretty.
And I was made up pretty and I had white shoes and
a white hat and a white fan, and that was my Fourth
of July and i could hardly wait to get out to get
pink lemonade. And ride the merry-go-round.
MCP: What kind? Was it a brought-in merry-go-round or
a home-made contraption?
AW: Well, a man lived here by the name of Cook that
owned it. And it was ran by steam. Had a little
whistle and had the horses.
MCP: Did it play music?
AW: Oh, yes. Can't remember any of it. And then I
know they had a little show connected with it
called Punch and Judy.
MCP: Yes? They did have a Punch and Judy? I never saw
AW: Oh, yes.
MCP: What else did they have at the Fourth of July?
AW: Oh, we had balloon ascensions, and merry-go-round,
and pink lemonade, of course, and white taffy
candy. And oranges. Those days, you know, we
didn't have oranges only on Fourth of July and
MCP: How about Christmas when you were a child? What
do you remember that went on different?
Reel 203, Item 9, con't
AW: Well, we very seldom had a tree. We hung our
stockings, up. And my sister and I slept together
and we'd try our best to stay awake. And we
truly thought that Santa Claus came down the
chimney. And it bothered us very much, we
couldn't understand why. So we'd go to bed and
she would tell me stories. And every once in
a while she'd say, "You're asleep." And I'd say,
"No, I'm not." And she'd say, "Where'd I leave
off at?" And I'd tell her. But finally we'd
drop off to sleep. And next morning when we'd
wake up there the things were. Then we'd get up
and we'd grab our candy and we'd go back to bed
and lay in bed and eat the candy before breakfast.
But it meant a lot to us.
MCP: Did you get firecrackers for Christmas?
AW: No. All the churches had programs, you know, and
MCP: Three wise men in blankets?
AW: Yes. Sleigh ride, that was quite popular, and
coasting down the mountains on bobsleds.
MCP: Did you have more snow then?
AW: Oh, why my father used to have to get out and
shovel a path to get us down to the main street
and then put spikes in the heels of our shoes to
dig down in the ice to get up and down to school.
We don't have any winters any more. But we used
to have them.
MCP: What would Santa Claus typically bring a little
girl like you?
AW: Oh, dolls and doll buggies and candy and fruit and
story books. Practically like it is today.
MCP: Do you remember when your father ran a store?
AW: Oh, yes.
Reel 203, Item 9, con't.
How did he fix his store up for Christmas?
Well, I don't remember that they was any special
decoration for Christmas.
Did you ever see a store with a string held to the
counter with toys hanging down from it, little
toys tied to it?
No, I don't remember anything like that. But I do
remember when my father ran a store. Those days
there were no restaurants, and the farmers would
come in and go to the back end of the store and
get a bowl and buy a can of cove oysters and a
bottle of pepper sauce and some crackers and that
would be their dinner. I well remember that.
Oh, yes. And cheese and crackers, you know. That
was their dinner.
Cove oysters? What kind of oysters are those?
Well, those are little, small canned oysters, you
I remember that. I grew up in a village. I've
eaten that way.
I have too. Crackers those days came in a box,
you know, a large box, and vanilla wafers and all
Mary Jane crackers.
Sure. And then those candy cane in buckets.
I used to sell flowers down at the Basin Circle when
I was a girl about eight years old. And I'd make
eight and ten dollars a day selling flowers. And
that was quite a treat for a child.
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