As told to me by a friend …
The fall of 1939, I was in the second grade and we had a new teacher, Thelma Morgan. In my second grader eyes she was very pretty — about sixth in line after Alice, my older sister’s Jewish niece-in-law, my sisters Rose, Priscilla, Carol and perhaps Donna Mae Tallman – a blonde who lived on the farm across the railroad tracks and up the hill a half mile. (Later in life I realized Miss Morgan was not pretty at all.)
As well as the new teacher there also was a new second grader, Arthur. His family had moved from Texas to our area in Wisconsin and was living in an abandoned farmhouse off of Highway 73 near the swamp where Hay Creek starts. Arthur’s family was very poor as were other families in that area. As well as being poor Arthur had only one eye, the other eye had been hit by an arrow while playing “Cowboys and Indians”. His lunch usually was a lard and graham flour bread sandwich and a pint of half coffee and half milk. (One day a week my mother came to the school to cook soup and make bread for school lunch. She also put the quarantine signs on the houses with sick people in them.) Well, anyway Arthur’s family was very poor.
At Christmas time it was decided that each student in our room, first and second graders, would draw a name and bring a gift to school for the classmate whose name they had drawn. The big day came for the Christmas lunch and the handing out of gifts. Arthur had drawn my name and of course his family did not have any money for him to bring me a gift. I thought, “My father just died a month ago and now I do not get a gift.” I felt bad about my father, at not receiving a gift and felt bad because Arthur was poor and could not bring a gift.
Miss Morgan was not pretty but she was kind and had some gifts in her desk for those that did not receive gifts. So for that Christmas I received a Spinning Top made out of metal with holes in it that whistled while it was spinning. Often at Christmas time I think about Arthur and wonder what happened to him. JDB
I personally remember when we had Christmas gift exchange parties at church. There were some who came to the party and had nothing to share so I always made sure I had extra generic gifts so no one would be forgotten.
After all, isn’t that what the Christmas spirit is all about — God not forgetting about us and sending His son Jesus in the flesh to remind us that He loves us.