by Sherry Stocking Kline
October 31, 2009
The following is the Saturday Night Genealogy Fun Challenge by Randy Seaver at Genea-Musings! Thanks, Randy!
Hey boys and girls, it’s Hallowe’en, and time for some Saturday Night Genealogy Fun! Play either before or after your trick or treating experiences, or even on Sunday morning after your extra hour of sleep (you did remember to set your clocks back, didn’t you?).
Here is your assignment, should you decide to accept it (you ARE reading this, so I assume that you really want to play along – cue the Mission Impossible music!):
1) Think about your most memorable Hallowe’en – was it when you were a child (candy, games, carnivals), a teenager (tricks and treats), or an adult (perhaps a party)?
2) Tell us about it in your own blog post, in a comment to this blog post of mine, or in a comment on Twitter or Facebook in response to this post.
3) Have fun!
Looking back at my own memories I realize how lucky we were. We lived in, or in my case near, a wonderful small town where the residents were patient and the bank roof was sturdy.
What was so important about the bank roof being sturdy?
The goal each Halloween, for at least two generations, was to block off the three-block Main Street so no traffic could get through, (at all) soap car and business’ windows, (there were five in my time prior to that six or seven) and to …
Pile as Much Stuff on the Bank Roof as Possible!
In our defense, it didn’t start with my generation.
In my father’s time, horse drawn buggies were pushed, pulled, and hauled up on the bank’s roof.
In my time, for whatever reason, it became the preacher’s kid’s swing sets that made their way onto the bank roof each Halloween.
Just in case one of the p.k.’s (preacher’s kids) read this someday it didn’t mean we didn’t like you or your folks, i.e. it was not a negative reflection on the preacher’s popularity, it was probably because the family was well liked.
And, it was also because the swing sets were handy to the bank and very easily moved.
In Mayfield, in the 1950’s, it was safe…
In Mayfield, in the 1950’s, it was safe for children to go around by themselves. Maybe it wouldn’t be now, maybe not even in Mayfield which is still has about 100 residents, and isn’t that a sad commentary on our times.
My very first Halloween memory is when I was about three or four years old and not much taller than the paper grocery sack my mom sent me off to trick or treat with.
One of the ‘big girls’, Anita Biles or Ginny Barry, took me by the hand, and walked me around the town along with a crowd made up of all ages and sizes. I felt very short, very small, and kind of scared.
My next memory is being big enough not to hold anyone’s hand and going around with friends in home-made costumes. I remember being a hobo often, because the bandannas and ratty clothes were easy to come by.
By the Time We Were Old Enough, the Privy’s were gone…
By the time my generation was big enough to join in with creating havoc, some of the buggies and horse drawn wagons still sat in yards and town fields, but the outhouses (privy’s) were gone. My dad’s generation was known to push over outhouses.(Occasionally some resourceful person moved the outhouse, and the prankster’s fell IN the outhouse hole) and one Hallowwen someone was actually IN an outhouse when it was pushed over.
Looking back, I marvel at the patience of the men who got up the next day, and took everything back to its proper home, because if it was movable, if it could be drug, rolled, pushed or pulled, it made its way to Main Street on Halloween night amidst joyous laughter and much camaraderie. (And for those who cleaned up the next day, please know that I’m grateful.)
We Were ‘Too Old’ to Go Trick or Treating…
As teen-agers, though we considered ourselves too old to go trick-or-treating, we were still expected to make an appearance in each of our town “Grandma’s” homes to receive our treats.
We started out at Grandma Mabel Stayton’s, where my mom, Dorothy Stocking, and my best friend’s mom, Wanda Stayton, both farm wives, sat with Mabel to hand out candy along with Mabel. From there, we traveled to visit at Grandma Eva Downing’s, Grandma Jenny McCreary’s, Valley Heasty’s, Mrs. Washburn’s, Dode and Bonnie Anderson, and Nancy and Rosa Weber’s home.
At each home, we were welcomed with candy and choruses of “My how you’ve grown!”, “What grade are you in now?” and “Be sure and come back next year!”
We had no idea then, how lucky we were to grow up in a small town with such a family friendly atmosphere.
But Traditions Change…
It wasn’t too many years after we Tricked and Treated that the traditions were changed to ones that were safer and were less work for all involved, but looking back, well, memories just don’t get any better than the ones we were lucky enough to create.