Minute Matamoras: Christmas memories | News, Sports, Jobs
The day of Christmas! Filled with all the voices of friends and neighbors. The aura that surrounds clean air always brings out the best in people. And these good wishes resonate through the years.
Generosity is the Christmas watchword in any small town like Matamoras. In the past, there was always a $ 100 money order sent to the local school. It would be received shortly before the Christmas holidays and drafted in a shaky writing style. It has always been designed to be used for the boots of needy children.
The donor remains forever unknown. But thanks to one person’s generosity, many small children who had already waded in the snow with thin shoes were able to play with dry feet.
The bad weather near Christmas often provided an opportunity to help the citizens of the city. A 1910 Matamoras Enterprise article reported that Fred Stover roamed the city using his snowplow to create paths for pedestrians as well as horse-drawn vehicles. We will recall that at the time, no one in this region was afraid of being hampered on public transport by a winter storm.
Josephine Way Barnhart had wonderful memories of Matamora Christmases in the early 1900s. She shared that the Kollman Furniture and Department Store would pull tall blinds over their huge picture windows as the December days approached Christmas. Out of sight, the owners filled the windows with all kinds of toys and seasonal gifts.
They then informed the public when Santa Claus would unveil the windows. Everyone rushed to look at the screen. Fairyland was at the parade and the kids were choosing what they wanted to have for Christmas. Of course, the caveat was always added by parents… if you’re good, maybe Santa would leave it on Christmas Eve.
Josephine’s aunt, Minna Machetanz Way dressed as Santa Claus and roamed the city. She made unexpected visits to little children’s homes with oranges and candies donated in the big bag Santa Claus always carries. Her husband Alex Way was the superintendent of schools at the time and he could very well know who was mean and who was nice, that Minna… oops… Santa always seemed to know.
For a scheduled reunion with Santa Claus, the Presbyterian Church still had Hosea May, owner of the hardware store, dressed and ready to go after a Christmas program at the shrine. First the sound of the sleigh bells, then May appeared. He was a short, fat man, and he always made an excellent personification of the happy old elf.
John Miller is president of the Matamoras Area Historical Society. Membership fees are $ 15 per year, single / couple. Lifetime membership is $ 150. Contact the company at PO Box 1846. New Matamoras, Ohio 45767. Much of this column is built on the work of Matamoras historian, the late Diana McMahan.