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Christmas Story: And your 50 cents

The following is an affirmation by a young girl of around nine or tento her Grandmother Etna McCaffree reporting on the Christmas gifts ofthe day. It is a favorite in the Waggener family. -EW
Columbia, Ky.
Dec. 30, 1943

Dear Granny,

How are you. We're fine. What did you get for Christmas?

The baby got two rattles and two bibs, and your 50 cents.

Eddie got a little rocking chair, a little brown and white deer, andlittle color book and Mother Goose books and your half dollar.

Annette got a little black board and two boxes chalk, gloves, pajamiesand 30 cents in her stocking and your 50 cents and some little books.

Fay got 20 cents in the stocking and a pair of p.j.s and a book, hairclasps, two games and your 50 cents.

My Sunday School teacher gave me a small set (perfume-powder) CaraNome. I got a diary from a girl at school.

We all got some candy from Santa Claus.

Thank you very much for your present to us.

Your grandchildren,
Helen Fay Waggener
A note: 50 cents may not seem a lot today, but in the middle of World War II it was a fortune for a child. In today's money, it would be well over $6. And that might not seem like a lot unless one can imagine what life was like for a widow in that time. Granny had little in material things. She had a big peppermint stick she carried from child's house to child's house to share with grandchildren. That and wonderful stories to fascinate three little boys - Ralph Roy, Bobby Chelf, and me - about the huge catfish caught at Milltown, about hoop snakes and glass snakes, about how terrible Mickey, the next door cat was, when he raided the baby jay's nest in "her" maple tree, which she could look down on from her second story room. She was so precious to the younger ones in our family, because she was the only grandparent we knew. My Chelf grandparents Lee Roy Chelf and Annetta (Nettie) Spurling Chelf, and my grandfather R. A. Waggener, were gone before we were born. -EW

This story was posted on 2011-12-13 04:37:30
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