... ten-year-old has vivid memory of 1929 in downtown Melrose
It was Christmas Eve, 1929. The Great Depression had begun a couple of months earlier with the Stock Market crash on October 29.
Our Christmas tree had not been purchased as money already had become short. However, what is Christmas without a tree? Mother gave me 5 cents and said to go buy a tree.
Living just a block from Main St. in Melrose, I headed for the store. As it was beginning to get dark outside, I went to a little Mom-and-Pop variety store owned by a Polish couple and found just one tree outside beside the building. I asked the lady the price, and she told me 10 cents. That was twice as much as Mother had given me, so I told the lady I only had 5 cents.
I guess the Good Lord saw a 10-year-old boy with a broken heart, and He must have touched the heart of the lady store owner as she said I could have the tree for the grand sum of 5 cents! I was so happy.
I had quite a struggle getting the tree home as it was taller than this 10 year older! One side of the tree was fairly bare, but placing that part toward the wall in the corner of the living room, we all pitched in decorating our "expensive" 1929 Christmas tree.
After finishing the decorations and placing the lights, the tree was beautiful to me, my brother and sisters as well as Mother and Dad.
It was a wonderful Christmas!
December 3, 2004