Children sent gift requests to Santa
120 years ago, 1900
Special Elf reporters working at the Youngstown Vindicator intercepted a few letters on their way to the North Poleás most famous resident: Santa Claus! With Santaás permission, they printed some of those letters for readers to share in the magic.
âDear Santa Claus: I wish that you would please bring me a pair of felt boots and a pair of mitts with fingers in. And please bring me some nuts mixed, and some candy and a watch besides, and I would like a Christmas tree and some story books, some oranges, too. Your little friend, Marlan Saver.ã
âDear Santa Claus: My name is Freddie Collamore. My papa told me to write to you and if you thought I was a good boy you would send me some presents. I have lots of toys and a dog but want a real steam engine. I am 6 years old and go to school every day. Freddie Collamore, Girard, Ohio.ã
âDear Santa Claus: Please send me a sled and a fire department and some candy and nuts and oranges and blocks and story book and something nice for mamma. I am 7 years of age, Edgar McQuiston, 18 Central Square.ã
Edgarás little brother also sent a letter: âDear Santa Claus: Please send me a sled and building blocks, a pair of mittens, story book and a Christmas tree and fill my stocking with candy and oranges and good things. I am 5 years old. Stanley McQuiston.ã
âMy Dear Santa Claus: Do not forget me. My name is Violet Myers. I would like a little stove, a baby doll, and iron and ironing board, and lots of candy and nuts, and a little piano. Do not forget, for I live at 334 E. Wood Street.ã
âMy Dear Santa Claus: I wish you would bring me a pair of boots for peddling papers in the snow. Please bring me a pair of threes and I shall be ever so thankful to you. Henry McHale.ã
âDear Santa Claus: Please bring Harry a train and a pair of rubber boots and a horn and a story book. Frank a sleigh and a wagon and a horn and boots and a story book. James a drum and a sleigh and a pair of skates No. 10 with straps on the heels but none on the toes and some candy and popcorn and nuts and three handkerchiefs and a story book, a ring and a fiddle, and oblige — James, Harry, Frank Finnegan, Mineral Ridge, O. Please come early.ã
50 years ago, 1970
A series of six pictures showed the adorable faces of puppies waiting for Christmas miracles at the Mahoning County Dog Pound. âLove, the greatest gift of all, is anxiously waiting … it comes in almost 70 assorted sizes and colors, but each wagging, furry bundle is guaranteed to fit the heart just as Kippy, adopted at the pound last Christmas, has fitted in Linda McGeeás.ã The pups were decked out in their holiday finest, posing with trees, greeting cards, and candy canes, all while giving their best âadopt me, pleaseã eyes.
One older pup was pictured popping out of a Christmas box. âAlthough she doesnát bark with an accent, she is French from the tip of her white tail to her curly ears and she doesnát care what language is spoken as long as it is the language of love.ã All of the dogs were joined by a special guest who stopped by to make sure they were happily adopted — Santa Claus, himself!
40 years ago, 1980
Custodian Leo Bryan expected a normal morning when he entered St. Columba Cathedral but what he found was the remnants of damage caused by vandals the night before. A confessional along the right wall was burnt and the smoke had damaged the Stations of the Cross above. The fire impacted the oak paneling, pews, floor, wiring and heat ducts, and severely damaged the mosaic tiles on the columns and the ceilingás plaster. A small side altar was also burnt. Chief Arson Inspector John Zamary found a lighter wick on the floor near the sacristy and believed it was used to ignite the drapes on the confessional and altar cloth.
While there was no damage to the large stained glass windows, one of the smaller stained glass windows was broken on the east-front side of the building. Another window was broken near the sacristy where police also found footprints. Estimates placed the damage cost around $50,000. Father Martin S. Susko believed that nothing was stolen but noted that the timing was disheartening. âItás too bad about the fire, it hurts me about the Christmas programs and everything,ã he noted.
• Compiled from the archives of the Youngstown Vindicator by Traci Manning, MVHS Curator of Education