If you have a fond Christmas memory you would like to share with the
Contact Us and weI'll be glad to add it to this section.
Memories and photos about Christmas lights or decorations are especially appreciated.
visitor David Griffin writes to share his fond memories of an old
fashioned Southern family Christmas:
Their seems to
be so many Christmas traditions and memories to tell, where do I
We always went to my grandmother’s house just across the Florida
line, right outside of our hometown of Geneva, Alabama. The kinfolk
from all over the country would seem to always make it home at least
one time of the year and Christmas was that time.
My dad’s family was huge. He had 9 brothers and sisters and each of
them all had rather big families themselves. So it didn't take much
of an imagination to figure we'd be all over the farm with our
The boys would be out in the barnyard popping firecrackers and
setting off bottle rockets. Looking back I still can't see how in
the world we didn't burn my granddad’s barn and all his livestock
down .Anyway, the girls would all be up on the front porch swinging
and hollowing and screaming at us boys to stop all the racket. The
adults would be gathered inside near to the old wood burning stove
that heated the old farm house with the coziest feeling I could
imagine then. And to this day everything pales in comparison still
to the gentle warmth and that special feeling that fireplace had.
The smell never leaves me.
Anyhoo, the men would set around and tell old war stories like
Southern gentlemen would do and the ladies would be in the kitchen
cooking up one of those meals that you can only imagine nowadays. It
was an absolute feast. From homemade cathead biscuits to the largest
pitcher of southern ice tea so sweet, you could cut it with a knife.
All the meat and veggies and sweet potato pies and confection
candies you could put on one table. All homemade by the way, NOTHING
When the meal was ready granny would come to the back porch door and
ring the big ol’ cow bell. That was the signal for all to stop
whatever they were doing and the holiday feast and all its trimmings
had officially begun!
Once all the family had gotten huddled safely into the big grand
room, it was time for Papa Griffin to say the word of thanks for the
family. Let me tell you I can still remember the power of my grand
dad’s voice. He was a man’s man. Hard working and sun callused. He
looked like what you think an old southern granddad would look like.
Boy was he a fine fella, truly the patriarch of the family. After
the blessing of the food and kin, it was time for the eating to
begin, and eat we did. It seemed like hours at the time, but I guess
it was only a few minutes or so like today , but as we all know, as
kids everything was bigger and longer and more exciting when the
family all got together.
Finally, the feast being over, it was the time most everyone had
been waiting for, especially the kids. It was present time! That’s
right-- gift exchange time. See, somewhere back in time, I believe
it was Thanksgiving, the adults would put everyone’s name in one of
Papa Griffin’s old sun hats and draw names to see who would buy who
gifts to be handed out at the Christmas present swap. Heck, best I
can remember, the name picking was about as fun as the gift
exchange. Everybody would be dropping hints to everyone else as to
what they would like just in case you might have gotten their name.
It was fun just trying to guess who had your name. But that was part
of the whole treat, not knowing who had your name and the
anticipation waiting for this Christmas Eve to bust open your gifts.
Wow, what fun this was!
I say gifts because after you got your secret Santa gift, the kids
would also get a couple from Granny and Papa as well. These were
always special. Things like a Barlow pocket knife for all the boys
no matter how old they were, to dolls that were made with more lacey
attachments and long curly hair than I’d ever seen.
After the paper had all been bagged up and put in the fire, it was
time to wind up this great adventure and all would head home to
their respective houses, to get ready for the Big Guy to come by for
the big visit. We’d all say our goodbyes with big hugs and many
kisses, sending our love to each other to last for another year. We
would all leave with many tales to tell and excited beyond
words..... with horns blowing and arms waving we were homeward bound
already dreaming about next year and the joy it'd bring to the
Freeman shares a memory of her family's favorite Christmas light with us:
I enjoyed looking through your online Christmas light museum. I
wanted to share with you a picture of the antique light my mom has
on her tree. It's over 75 years old and still burning. She has a
strand of antique Christmas tree lights that came from my paternal
grandmother's house. Once, the strand had an assortment of shaped
bulbs: a zeppelin, a Chinese lantern, a Santa head. For my dad the
herpetologist, however, the frog was the favorite; he remembered it
from his earliest Christmas, which would have been about 1930. Every
year, we would put the strand on the tree and wait with bated breath
to see if "the froggy" was going to light and every year, so far, it
has. Best guess is this is Froggy's 77th Christmas, at least. The
frog and the Chinese lantern are the only novelty bulbs left on the
strand; the rest of them are the traditional plain bulb shape. Given
how hard it is to find replacement bulbs, who knows how long the
strand will last. But 3 1/2 years after his death, my father's light
is still burning.
Note from Editor - Sadly Louise's photo of her family's antique frog figural lamp has been lost. To the left, we have posted two example lights from early catalogs to give you some idea of what Louise is talking about. If you can get ahold of anyone in Louise's family to get another copy of the photo, or if you have a better photo yourself, please contact us. We'd be very glad to hear from you.
'Nudder Editor's Note - Reader and contributor Christopher Lowell has sent us a photograph of still another frog lamp, this one connected to the base by his nose. Louise, if you stop by again, please tell us which one is closest to your family's light.
Referring to why he collects Christmas lights, Mike writes:
To me, the most important thing (about collecting Christmas lights)
is when you get a little kid
whose eyes are dancing when they see my AMERICAN FLYER trains
running or when they see my tree lighted with bubble lights and old
lights they have never seen anywhere else. That justifies it. You’ve
just made a hopefully lasting impression and made them happy as a
kitten or pup with a new toy!!!!!
The best example to me was the first time I put up my STREET style
XMAS string with the S11 bulbs from my garage to the street pole and
the front of my drive way. This older couple in their 70's stopped
to look and asked where I got them. (It was getting dark so they
really stood out better then it being all dark.) I explained where I
got them and why.
The lady told me when they got married after the war their 1st
apartment was over a store on Market street in downtown Wilmington.
They didn't have a lot of money and the only lights they had were
the ones that ran from light pole to light pole outside the bay
window of their living room. But she said it was great to sit and
look out at the lights every night. They were "their" lights and it
was grand! Seeing them again after more than 25 years really brought
back memories for her. I said I was glad they liked them and as long
as I lived here, they would go up every Christmas.
That's what's important: to brighten up someone’s life, not to be
greedy just for the sake of collecting.
From web site visitor Rosalie:
Let me share a wonderful story with you
and why my visit to your web site meant so much.
I am 59 years old. My mother and dad were
told they could not have children. Miracles of miracles here I
am. On my first Christmas my dad bought me a plastic angel, I
believe a Noma Lighted Angel. It has been on my tree top for 59
years. Now that my dad is gone the angel means even more.
But I have two nephews (a second miracle
with his birth, 4 years after mine) and they know the
story.......who would get the angel? 3 years ago on Christmas
morning after mass I walked by the Antique shop and there was the
identical angel....and the shop owner was in the shop.
Now there are two, neither nephew knows
which is the original angel, neither do I.
When I found your web site and the
wonderful information it was an early Christmas gift.
The past is still part of our everyday
life. We must always strive to keep it alive in traditions and
From Ralph W. Robinson
(After visiting your
site)...my thoughts immediately turned to the Christmas lights
in my home in suburban Philadelphia. Every year as I grew up from
birth through high school, the same lights decorated the large room
off the living room. It contained many windows, and was where our
huge floor to ceiling tree stood every year. Under the tree were
many standard gauge Lionel trains running, and they ran through the
entire room as well.
Each year, from the very early 1930's to the early 1950's, along
with the cone type lights on the tree, we had light strings around
each of about 12 windows as well. But the bulbs in these, red and
green, were all bell shaped, although not much larger than the cone,
and were made I am certain, in Japan. I do also recall the Mazda
lights and GE lights on the tree strings. The window lights always
had blinkers in the sockets, and of course alternated on and off.
The funny thing is, I don't remember many ever burning out, and they
were always on at least a month, every night, year after year. After
the 50's, they were stored away in my mother's & father's attic, and
were still there when she died at 101, about five years ago.
My Dad was an electrical engineer with the Pa. Bell Telephone
company his entire life, and kept our trains and lights in first
class shape. If you are familiar with Lionel Standard Gauge trains,
they are quite large. As I grew up from a little boy, my Dad kept
expanding the layout under the tree each year, and it evolved into a
layout where trains went up elevated ramps circling a mountain, and
came roaring down banked curves at bottom, even though the current
shut off before their downward path, just like a roller coaster
would. Often, my Dad had three separate trains running on the same
tracks, at the same time!
Our neighbor was an architect who designed amusements at Willow
Grove & Woodside Parks in Philadelphia and Palisades Park in New
York. Through him, my Dad learned how to make Plaster-of-Paris
plaques and villages, which were set in each year among the pattern
of the track layout. Christmas strings were embedded in the base
castings, leading to the little houses which were lit with the C-6
I would guess the lights were all from the late 1920's, certainly no
later new than the very early 1930's.
I think I should add as a credit to my Dad's devotion and love, that
Santa put all that up on Christmas Eve, after my two brothers and I
had gone to bed. There it was, early every Christmas morning! I
don't know how Santa managed it year after year!
Best regards, Ralph W Robinson, II
From Jim Vieceli, a
Lighting Product Specialist with Sylvania:
We still get questions every Christmas
season regarding the SYLVANIA Fluorescent Christmas lights from the
40's. I found your information invaluable. I am amazed at the
emotion this product can still generate. I have included a typical
email we receive for your interest.
I have an amazing true story I want to
share with you. On Easter Sunday, 1945, my husband's mother and
father, Henrietta and Robert McAfee, were married. The following
Christmas (1946) they eagerly bought their first string of Christmas
lights, a string of round pastel shaded Sylvania bulbs. Every
Christmas the newlyweds Henrietta and Robert proudly hung the lights
on the tree.
Over the years there were young ones to
share the joy of the Christmas tree trimming...one by one, there
were six children, to be exact: Robbie, Mike, Pat, Sharon, Nancy and
Martha. And each one of these six remembers the excitement of the
annual hanging of the "first" Christmas tree lights their mom and
dad had bought together. Would they light up again this year, after
all these years, the children wondered, as they drug the lights out
of the box? And the lights always worked. It is true, by 1955, one
or two lights had burned out. But this "first" string of lights was
always the most special on the tree, even if one or two lights were
Then in 1960 the most important family
light burned out. The family's father, Robert, died of a heart
attack, leaving six children and a then unemployed widow to raise
the children. Imagine the hush the next Christmas as the string of
lights came out of the box. The family hovered breathlessly, waiting
to see if they could rekindle their father's warm spirit and their
mother's happiness by lighting the family tree with these special
lights. And year after year, the lights worked. And worked. And
worked. Year after year, decade after decade, they worked, with one
or two fewer lights here and there, until in 1980, 35 years later,
only one light was left on the strings, music, and craft resources.">This light, of course, took the place of
honor at the top of the family Christmas tree every year after
that. By then, the six children had flown the coop...they were off
raising their own families and trimming their own trees. But when
they called from afar or just across town to see if mom had gotten
the tree up yet, the first question was always, "Did the light
work?" And it did.
I entered the family as Mike's wife in
1989, and every Christmas since I too have waited breathlessly as he
asked the crucial question. Just today he called his mom from a
cell phone as we left the airport: "Did you get the tree up?" Upon
hearing the answer, he paused, as he always does, and I knew what
he'd ask next: "Did the light work?" And the answer, as always, was
Thank you, Sylvania, for a priceless gift
to a family who grew up without their father but could always
remember the happiness they shared with him through the product you
built with such care. 1945-2002. Who would have thought a single
light bulb could have been the most important family tradition at
Christmas for over 55 years?
Kyle Sund, a Christmas lighting collector:
In 1994, my partner
Jeff and I made a hobby out of exploring abandoned houses out in the
country. We used to find all kinds of cool stuff. One time, I found
a complete 1960's Aurora slot car set in a house with a roof so
rotten you could see through it. Two weeks later, it was torn down.
One of our finds was a box of old Christmas tree decorations from
the 40's. It went into storage and was forgotten about.
Jeff and I moved in together a couple days before Christmas. On the
23rd, he brought home a nice little live tree. We needed a stand and
decorations, remembered the stuff we'd found and went to see what
was there and if it was usable and enough for a small tree. It was
all in nice shape and enough to do the tree, including 3 sets of
these "series" lights. I hadn't seen them before and was kind of
excited by the odd shape of the pointy lamps. We decorated the tree
with these forgotten lights and ornaments, and it looked very
vintage, and very cool.
My friend, Mike, who must be about 50 now, came over to see our new
place (a small house). He was taking off his coat, but then stopped
and went for the tree, dragging his coat behind him with one arm
still in! There, he pointed at one of the lights and said "We had
these as a kid! Oh my God, where did you get these?" I told him.
He proceeded, after he got his coat off, to tell me about how every
year at Christmas, he and his Dad pulled the lights out, tightened
the lamps, checked to see if they'd light (with series lights, a
loose or burnt out lamp breaks the circuit, and none will light up),
then put them on the tree. A sure bet was that one would go out, and
you'd have to spend 5 minutes checking all 8 lamps to find the bad
or loose one. Mike remembered how mock-infuriated his father would
get with these lights. It was his big family memory of Christmas.
The next day, Mike came over again and he presented me with a very
old little boys sock. I'll never forget it- it was light blue. He
said, "Here, I want you to have these. You're the only one who will
appreciate them." and held out the sock. In the sock were 6 of these
little, pointy C-6 lights he'd saved from his childhood- from their
last string of series lights. Eventually, his parents had replaced
them all with C-7 (nightlight bulb sized) lights that were much less
He was glassy-eyed, so I refused and told him I couldn't take them.
He absolutely insisted. We tested them all and they all still
worked. The next day, I put little Sharpie marker "M"s on the bases,
so I would remember where they came from. I thought they might be
rare and wanted to log a record of anything I might acquire.
Jeff and I were big antiquers, so from that point on I kept my eyes
open. I started spotting loose sets here and there and buying them,
then I started finding them in the original boxes. One of the boxes
I found later that year, Mike commented that it looked familiar (I
used to show him everything I found).
My friend Scott managed
a Kinkos, so we reproduced 3 more of these boxes. Into these I put
some of the series light sets I'd found (they're not hard to find,
especially without their original box).
A week after
Thanksgiving, I went to Mike's house (where to my dismay, I saw he'd
already put up his tree, complete with many of his family’s old
decorations). I handed him this big, wrapped box and said, "Here's
your Christmas present, but you have to open it now." He did. Inside
were the 3 boxes of lights. In the bottom one, I also included the
sock with the 6 "M" lights. When he got to this, he looked at me and
began to cry. For like 10 minutes. That made me cry. Then, he got up
and said, "Help me." and began pulling ornaments off the tree. We
took everything off, added the colorful old lights to the tree, and
redecorated it. I bet we sat for a half hour just looking at it.
I never quit looking and buying. Since then, Mike's gotten more
series lights from me, including some cool old bubble lights. He
uses them every year.
To me, each and every one of those little lights might be someone's
dear memory of Christmas, and although they might not be MY
memories, and I don't know who originally owned them, I preserve
them. When I see a set from the 1920's or 1930's with one or two
1950's lamps mixed in, carefully tucked in their well cared for box,
I just know someone else used and loved them year to year. When you
dig out the same decorations year after year for decades, it's like
seeing old friends, like you just had them in your hands yesterday.
I give the lights a home. It's just what I do.
That was a defining moment in my life. My collection has brought me
countless hours of joy. I spent the years before Jeff died doing
this with him. The best quality time we ever spent, just out
antiquing. All because a little boy saved something in a sock,
because it reminded him of his fondest childhood memory.
|From Don Lachie, a
Christmas light collector:
I was always thrilled
as a kid when the lead tinsel would fall on the tracks of the train
running under our tree. At the time I could not figure out why it
normally could lie across the train tracks untouched but look out
when the train went over it!!! After a while I realized that if none
dropped onto the tracks by chance that you could place a strand
across the track deliberately then start the train, then know
exactly the spot to look for the action. I was in awe of the
sparking and snapping as well as the strange smell of the ozone
produced in the process. I always felt that it was perfectly safe as
that flimsy strand was no match for the heavy copper wire connecting
the tracks and that transformer seemed to be a super heavy solid
black steel box that could not be phased by a tiny bit of
tinsel. This was more fun than just running the train! The many
steel wheels of the locomotive and cars made for multiple flashes. I
was found out when I got too over zealous one time and my parents
noticed the tree was looking bare near the bottom and an abundance
of short silver strands were only located under the tracks. The many
black marks on the track and the smell were not possible to hide.
We also always put the
lead icicles on one at a time and took them off the same way then
carefully laid them between magazine pages to store for the next
Christmas. I thought that this was because they were real silver and
were the most expensive holiday item in the house, little did I know
that they were lead as they did tarnish badly with each passing year
so I thought that they most likely were real silver, the only silver
that we had in the house when I was growing up. Many of our
relatives also saved them too so it did not seem odd until I found
out that other people always had new shiny icicles each Christmas
them I began to wonder.
Along with this I
remember the one larger string of C-7 lights and a couple sets of
C-6 with those strange pointed bulbs and the fact that they all went
dark when a problem arose. I think the tree had the exact same
ornaments each year with exception to a box or two added in later
years. They are still packed away in my parent's attic yet as I got
new ones with a reduced decorated tree from Sears that was always
used in later years.
At the time I was tired
of the sameness but now realize that they were like cherished
faithful friends that were always there year after year. The various
styles of Shiny Brite boxes with their plain cardboard and
single-color printing. Indents and unusual shapes of glass from
Germany, Poland and other European countries. All with the thin
edged slip-on lid and the universal cardboard divider inside. Back
then I did not realize the treasures that these simple boxes held
but now I know the stories and history of their production and
sale. Then I wondered why would anyone buy those plain glass ones
with only a thin painted ring or two around them yet alone keep
putting them on the tree each year. Now I know better that these
were the examples of keeping Christmas alive in a world torn apart
by a war that so impacted all that you could not even buy normal
goods no matter how much money one had. We had many that were only
one or two of a kind that were given to us by people opting to
replace their old ornaments with new ones, often of shiny
unbreakable plastic or satin balls to be more modern. I feel good
that these old decorations were not disposed of but were allowed to
continue to celebrate the joy of Christmas and remain a part of
someone's family yet. We gently hung each one on the tree and always
packed them away the same manner. I know for sure that most of these
are older than I am, and every one has a fascinating story behind
it, even the plainest simple glass ball that carries the many marks
of being lovingly displayed over many holiday seasons.
|From Lee Lowry, a
Christmas lighting collector:
One year the folks set
up the tree and were tired after putting on the lights and
ornaments. So they decided to let us children put on the icicles,
which were still made of lead foil in those days and left the room
to get supper on the table. This proved to be a mistake, as rather
than carefully hanging each strand on the branches, we thought it
be much more fun to throw it at the tree. Well, it was fun until
the folks heard the gales of insane laughter coming from the living
Naturally they had to investigate to see what was so funny. The
tree, of course, looked like a mess because of the haphazard way the
foil had landed on the branches. So we caught the dickens. It was
always so hard to have fun at our house. As I recall we younger ones
were banned from the room, and my older sister had to help the folks
take off all the icicles and hang them correctly.
We never did that again, but I still remember how much fun it was
to lob clumps of the heavy old lead icicles at the tree. We would
also lump the icicles into balls and put them in our mouths to chew
on. Lead, for heaven's sake! I still haven't figured out how we all
made it to adulthood.
|From Michael, a
Christmas lights collector in the UK:
in 1966, at the age of eight, I went with my Dad into the town
center of Leicester, here in the United Kingdom. We parked our car
up right in the centre of the city, as you could in those days, and
walked a few hundred metres to the Woolworth's store. We were going
to buy our first artificial tree.
this moment, we had always had a fresh and beautiful real tree, but
as my Mum and Dad had my baby brother to think about, they decided
to buy a tinsel covered tree (known in the United States as an
aluminum tree). I remember walking down to the store holding my
Dad’s hand, wondering what this tree was going to be like.
got into the store, the tree didn't look like much- basically just
wire and tinsel in a tree shape. I have to say I was not impressed!
The tree cost my dad 2 shillings and sixpence, and in the decimal
money we have in the UK today, this would cost about 12 pence! ( I
could have purchased eight of these trees for £1 or eight for $1.50
American)! We carried the strange little tree back to the car and
took her home. Little was I to know that this was to be the
beginning of a very long love affair…
and Dad gave the three of us some wonderful Christmases, ones to be
proud of and to remember fondly, and the little tree played a huge
role in that. Every year from then on, we put the little tree up,
and every year we added more decorations and things to it. Sadly, my
Mum and Dad parted ways in 1975.
with my Dad until I decided to venture off into the world on my own.
As the years passed, there came a time when my Dad was clearing out
the house and had decided to throw the tree away. Purely by chance,
I called by that day, and when I discovered his intentions, I just
could not let the old girl go to the rubbish tip! I took her home
where she was put up on display for the next few years.
again, I followed the family tradition by adding a few new
decorations to the old favourites to try and make her look her best.
Sadly, after a few more Christmases, she was beginning to look very
time I had met my wife, and we were moving in together. The little
tree had lost most of her tinsel bits, the odd branch and most of
her former shape, but she had decidedly had not lost all those
memories of the wonderful Christmases of the past that I had shared
with my family! I put the tree back into her original box (which, by
the way, still had the original price tag), and I stored her up in
the attic where she would be safe and sound.
that time our own family has been born, and over the years my wife
and I have had several trees. Every Christmas, I love and enjoy the
Season, with the decorations, trees and of course the lights, but I
also cannot help but remember the Christmases long past. I think
about them and how we celebrated with that little tree. Every so
often, I climb up to the attic, just to make sure she is still
there, safe and away from harm. I will always love and treasure her,
and she will stay in the attic for as long as she needs!
|Here's another memory
from Lee Lowry, a Christmas lighting collector:
Back in the 1950's when Douglas firs were the "standard" for
Christmas trees (hardly anyone in our area had artificial or long
needle trees then--the artificial were small and unattractive and
the long needled ones simply not yet available) misshapen scraggly
trees were far more common than nice ones. They were, after all, the
trees the lumber companies harvested in their thinning process, both
in the Northwest and in Michigan, so they probably weren't the best
to begin with. We had trees from both areas. If the folks got out
early and bought the tree while the selection was good, we usually
had an attractive one. But if the harvest was poor, the preceding
year very dry, or they waited until all the good trees had been
snapped up by others, we would end up with some pretty sorry looking
There was one year my mother got the tree very late and while tall
(we always had 8-footers) it had some appalling gaps in it.
Everyone's disappointment was evident as soon as we got the poor
thing set up in the stand. Usually the trees had a 'good side' and a
'bad side' and we'd turn it so the best side faced into the living
room. This tree was uniformly bad on all sides, and noticeably
lacking about 2/3 of the way up. What to do? There was no
possibility of getting a better one that late in the season. So that
was the year we put on nearly everything we had in the decorations
boxes, and in the end, the sad scrawny tree with all the holes in it
looked surprisingly good because there were enough decorations on it
the holes were no longer very noticeable. We all felt so much better
about how the "ugly duckling" turned into a "swan" after it had
enough "jewelry" spread over it. We usually used all the lights, but
not all the ornaments. That year we used everything we had except
for a few ancient ornaments that had lost their paint.
You know, it's funny, but I remember that unfortunate tree and the
decorating of it better than all the years we had 'normal' trees.
Bob Riddel, a
website visitor, has several childhood memories of Christmas and
lights. Bob writes:
I spent the first 16 years of life attending First Presbyterian
Church of Duluth MN, a wonderful old sandstone building built in the
1890's. I even found the old gas fixtures in one of the attics on a
clandestine snooping expedition. I wasn't always the best little
child and ducked out once to go exploring; sermons can get boring to
a child. I went downstairs and checked out the tree in the Edison
Room, which had a 16' ceiling. It was decorated with the Krystal
Star lights. The sockets were wired in parallel using cloth covered
rubber wire and there was the most huge transformer nestled in the
lower branches. It had big heat fins on it and wicked looking brass
screw terminals to which were connected the wires for the lights.
Man, those things looked like something right out of a Frankenstein
movie. Touch those, no way! I remember how beautiful those stars
were and only being a short little 4 year old, it looked like the
top of the tree went as high as heaven or just slightly under it.
Someone had thoughtfully left them on so I could look for quite a
while, a definite fire safety NO NO. Only got into a little trouble
for that one but I can still remember how perfect the colors
appeared. Those were the days when we could use real trees. At my
age, memories are getting to be more fun…
Here’s another of
Probably my first word was Mama but it could have been light (as
in Christmas light). I was an only, precocious child of older
parents so I had a few advantages over the multiple sibling set
and knew how to use them. One holiday time, our tree was in the
dining room in front of the east window with mostly C-7 sets but
there were a few C-6. The NOMA end adapter of one C-7 set had
broken and my Dad (an auto electrician) had soldered a NOMA male
plug with female outlet on to the end so we still could plug
additional sets in. He had thoughtfully friction-taped the prongs
to keep things safe. You ought to have seen what a lead icicle can
do in the bottom of a socket but that is another story. (I chewed
one once and only once, it hit a filling and I learned about the
principles of batteries!) Anyway, I saw what had been done and
wondered what would happen if I plugged that taped end in the other
outlet in the room so ... after unwrapping the tape, I plugged it
into the extension cord from that outlet and discovered what happens
when electricity meets in the middle. There wasn't much of a pop
and flash but the 30 amp fuse that handled almost all of the house
blew out quite nicely. Dear, patient Mother discovered the problem,
unplugged the extra connection, put in a new fuse and I got to sit
in the corner and think about it. At 5 years old, sitting is
definitely punishment. I still remember the result of that
experiment and never did it again although I did do other things.
Isn't life grand, especially during the holidays?
And here, Bob shares
with us a story of his early school days and Christmas:
When I was in first grade, I would sometimes take some C-6 bulbs
with me to keep in my desk. Our desks were the wooden, screwed to
the floor with iron scroll work on the sides so teacher could tell
whose desk was really messy. I keep the bulbs in a safe, not to be
seen by teacher, spot. One day, one got loose and went through the
scroll work, hit the floor and popped with a heart stopping noise.
I was mortified because it was my blue Japanese lantern. My teacher
came to my desk with a broom, dustpan and a look that said, "Sweep
it up now!” I was so embarrassed as I swept up the pieces because
the other children looked at me like I was the most unusual person
on the planet, no words were spoken but the looks said it all. So
much for first grade.
Next year it was Miss
Jenks for 2nd grade. She always wore white blouses with ruffles
around the sleeves and wore her hair in a definite '30's style and
this was 1954. She was quiet but you didn't mess with her. After
Thanksgiving, she brought in her little artificial tree that had a
C-6 set woven into it. One day, she plugged it in and it didn't
light. Miss Jenks was perplexed, she said "Oh dear," which I
translated into "I want help with this one." I told her I knew what
to do. She did have spares, (I kept mine at home since the first
grade experience), and I took one and did the usual bulb exchange.
Of course, the one that was bad was an old Mazda marked lamp that I
admired. She praised me for my efforts and the stain of first grade
was removed. Isn't amazing what will stay with a kid after all
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