Reflections: Christmas toys then and now


By Evelyn Long - The Sentinel



Growing up in the country in the 1940’s, the excitement of the Christmas season began with the arrival of the Wish Book,” an adjective describing the catalog that offered all of the latest toys and games.

My sisters and I would go through checking what we would like to find under the tree on Christmas morning but knew in our hearts, those toys would not be there. Those were the “Depression” years but there was so much fun just dreaming

about those toys, some of which were dolls (of course) but unlike dolls a few years later, their eyes did not open and shut and their legs and arms could not be moved- but back then, dolls were dolls.

I remember receiving boxes of crayons, card games such as Old Maid, Authors, etc. and my prize – a miniature kitchen cabinet with doors that opened and shut. Our parents never let us down, even though their resources were limited. Another pleasant memory is the paper bag distributed after Sunday School. It contained an orange, hard candy and usually one chocolate figure filled with creamy chocolate.

Years later, raising two sons, the toy offerings included the Etch-a-Sketch (made here in Ohio, I believe – I still have it in the attic), Play-dough, Mattel Toys, Tonka trucks, the Slinky, GI Joe and others.

Gifts may change but watching the boys when they found their gifts on Christmas morning was as exciting as me finding mine under the tree two decades earlier.

I cannot leave the subject of Christmas shopping without recalling the visits made to the Cahoon Department Store here in Cardington. There were two entrances, one from East Main, the other from South Marion.

Entering from South Marion, one walked past bolts of material that could be measured for sewing. Behind the counter was Miss Zent, ready to help. I remember her as such a pleasant lady with a greeting for everyone. Walking through this department one then entered the opposite side where everything, from crayons, coloring books, hair combs, mirrors, games, etc, and a myriad of what nots were on display.

Cost ran from a nickel up which made buying a gift easy for a youngster with 25 or 50 cents in their pocket. I remember having a terrible time picking out such a gift for a friend or for the name I drew in the school drawing. Later, the South Marion Street side of the store became Sterlings, also

a department store.

Of course, for items a step up, one could visit Stone’s Drug Store where an array of perfumes, billfolds, toiletries and jewelry were displayed. Sherman Hardware, Wilhelm Hardware, and later, Carsners, offered gifts for the home or that catered more to “Dad,” or “Grandpa.”

Fond memories remain with me of shopping for gifts through the Wish Book or our own local merchants.

November of 1946

Janet Coborn was named editor of The Pirateer, the Cardington High School yearbook. Janet was a senior

November of 1956

A Prefabricated 28 by 300 foot poultry house with an attached 40 x 40 foot concrete block building was erected on the Paul B. Maxwell farm managed by Mr. and Mrs. Charles Ullom north of Cardington. Funeral rites were scheduled for Ann Eliza Beatty, 96, one of the county’s oldest residents. She was one of the founders of Esperanto, a world language that she had traveled extensively to promote.

November of 1986

Pictured were Brad Wears and Eric Curts, designated “Commended Students” in the 1987 National Merit Scholarship Program. Both were Cardington-Lincoln High School seniors.

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By Evelyn Long

The Sentinel

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Reach us at [email protected]

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