COLUMN: Christmas past perfect: Flashback to the 1920s

Published: Monday, December 23, 2013 at 05:25 PM.

It was an Essex and had a rumble seat, but it was much too cold for any of us to ride out there. I was jammed into the front seat with my Aunt Dorothy and my very small grandmother. The gear shift was between my snowsuit-clad legs. The heater was doing its best to stave off the Chicago December cold. In fact, it was blowing directly in my face.

The mood was somber.

This was not a joy ride, but a serious mission, not to be taken lightly. We were on our way to redeem our bulging books of Royal Blue stamps. My mother was driving. My dad usually did the driving in the family, so my mother was not very confident as we bumped over icy, rutted roads.

Even though my snowsuit was itchy and my rubber boots were uncomfortable, I was aware that 6-year-old girls were to be seen and not heard, so I suffered in silence.

Now after the stock market crash of 1929, money was a scarce and precious commodity. So we were going Christmas shopping with our treasured Royal Blue stamps. These gifts would be for others. Santa would bring mine, I was certain.

Big globs of wet snow slapped the windshield as the thump, thump, thump of wipers struggled against it.

The stamp redemption center was stocked with a large assortment of household items, which the ladies seemed to enjoy but the toy section to me was a dream-come-true.

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