Thursday, December 25, 2008
No Christmas Tree, A True Story
~Mary Ellen Ladd Lowery and her husband William Henry Lowery, they are my husbands' great-grandparents. The following story was written by my husband's great-aunt Esther Meyer, in 1980 and she was the oldest daughter of William and Mary Ellen Lowery.~~~The weather had turned frigid suddenly. The homestead shack could not keep out all the icy blasts, but the hearts inside were warm with love and excitement. It was now well into December and Christmas would soon be here. This was a time in the early 1900's. A family had just the previous spring taken a homestead of one-quarter section of sagebrush land in a newly opened project in the Columbia Basin. They had great hopes of making a home here. The town was one and one half miles away and had no more than four or five buildings so far, and only a few supplies. Christmas had always held a special meaning for these God-fearing, devoted parents. The happiness and welfare of their four children was their greatest concern. ( They had more children as time went on) Now the holiday was fast approaching, the young ones were on tip-toe with excitement. With little money and no evergreen trees available, how could they celebrate the big day? The Mother, a very imaginative and resourceful person, lay awake nights planning and scheming. So for many evenings she cut, sewed, stuffed, and pasted until homemade toys evolved for each child. All of those were made from available household materials. Days were spent helping small fingers string popcorn and cranberries; and make paper chains of pages of the wall paper sample book. All the while she made time pass quickly with re-telling the Christmas story, with poems of the season and fairy tales. But now, what about a tree ? Some of the fields were full of sage brush, as there had not been time to clear it all in the few months since arriving here. Down by the big draw where a torrent of water ran down from the hills in each spring thaw, grew bushes four or five feet high." Now why would one of those not be beautiful set up in a corner of the room and decorated?" mused the Mother. So Christmas came at last. Four eager children awoke at dawn. Oh wonder of wonders, there before their eyes stood a grey-green, spicy smelling Christmas tree, aglow with candles, festooned with the home-made chains and ropes as well as the treasured ornaments of yester-years. Four stockings hung in a row from nails on one wall were bulging. Of course there was an orange in each toe, probably the only orange received all year. There was a little striped, paper sack of hard candy, augmented by plenty of home-made fudge. The Father had a sweet tooth, and always saw to that part. Now evening came after a blissful day and four happy , tired little ones fell asleep, content. Now-a-days we are blessed with an abundance of the good things of life, but no children today can be happier or more satisfied than were those little ones over the simple pleasures provided by those loving parents! ~This is the complete family. The Lowery's were one of the founding families of Quincy, Washington...I met Great Aunt Esther, her sisters Martha and Marion. They were incredible women and I hope to do a story on them some time in the future. This is a family that celebrated Christmas BECAUSE of Jesus, and so may you today! Merry Christmas!