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Christmas Memories during the 60's and 70's

Columbia Christmases then - Hard rock candy, a cedar Christmas Tree, the Square as the center of everything, Bill Beard looking after you, making sure you were safe, Ben Franklin and Western Auto, all the store windows decorated, Christmas carols from the Baptist Church - it was a wonderful life the author hasn't yet found how to bring back. But he's working on it.

By Barry Jones

I'm glad Nancy Salato Humphrey brought this subject up. I thought I was the only one that really missed the way it was.

Memories of Christmas in the 60's and 70's that stand out are making toilet paper tube candles with a construction paper flame and putting them in the school windows at the school Christmas party.


Christmas morning with hard candy and fruit in a stocking, a cedar Christmas tree, dolls for my sisters with eyes that closed when they laid them down, Go Go Boots, Lone Ranger pistols and holsters, plastic guitars, bicycles, BB guns and family was always there. Most of the family is gone now. We were lucky.

The square was the center of everything

During the 60's and 70's, the public square was the center of everything. I still remember who and where every merchant was located. You could take a walk around the square and get all of your Christmas shopping done and Bill Beard would walk you to your car and make sure nothing happened to you. I always liked Bill. Most kids were scared of Bill because of his size and appearance, but he was alright.

There were ladies clothing, men's clothing, children's clothing, shoe stores, 3 hardware stores, appliances, furniture, 2 pharmacies, doctors offices, lawyers offices, barbers, beauty shops, restaurants, theater, pool rooms, jewelry stores, and no kid growing up could forget Ben Franklin and the Western Auto Store. Every BB gun and bicycle came from the Western Auto Store.

All store windows had a Christmas theme

All the store windows were decorated to sell their items with the Christmas theme. Most were quite clever. This entertained the masses of people on the sidewalks. It's sad that a lot of people that read this can't remember or imagine the square the way it always was for us, busy and bustling. The stores stayed open till 8pm on Saturday night and later if it was busy.

City decorated with all new decorations back then

The city decorated the square with decorations hanging from the power poles. They were new back then. The decorations ran all the way up Jamestown Hill and Meadow Hill Inn was a show place of lights, sounds and smells that were amazing. Christmas Carols from the Columbia Baptist Church were always the perfect addition.

Columbia was a perfect peaceful town

Columbia was a perfect peaceful small town in south central Kentucky. Everyone knew you and you knew most everybody. You could hear someone wishing someone else a Merry Christmas at any time during the shopping season and people were just happy.

Magic seemed to leave the Square

Then came Wal Mart, and the magic seemed like it left the square like smoke off a campfire. The square is still nice but the magic, the ambiance, the character, the people are not there like it was. I miss it and don't have a feasible idea on how to fix it. Not yet anyway but I'm still working on it.Barry Jones

Have a Christmas memory to share? We hope you'll write it down and send it to ColumbiaMagazine.com, using the Comments Button with this article or any Contact/submit button on the site.


This story was posted on 2009-12-18 05:23:06
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