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About Cottage Grove sentinel. (Cottage Grove, Or.) 1909-current | View Entire Issue (Dec. 19, 2018)
COTTAGE GROVE SENTINEL • DECEMBER 19, 2018 •
Betty Kaiser’s Chatter Box:
Christmases past: Memories and lessons learned
of Mexico. Early pictures of
her show a barefoot girl in
a dirty dress in the blowing
desert sand. Later, things
picked up rather dramatical-
ly for her family and I now
have her beautiful French
Mom and dad met and
he older I get, the
married in Missouri and
more refl ective I
moved to California near
become during the
her parents during the
Christmas season. At this
Great Depression. Grandpa
stage of my life, the joyful
established a business and
ghosts of Christmas past
by the grace of God they all
bring me great joy and fi ll
survived and went on to buy
me with gratitude.
Th e heart of the season— houses and live the Ameri-
the birth of Jesus — has not can dream.
Chuck’s family immi-
changed. But everything else
has. Especially gift giving. I grated from Wisconsin to
Calif., during WWII. In
miss the old days of fulfi ll-
ing childhood dreams with Long Beach, his dad welded
the Victory Ships. It was a
big and small surprises.
dangerous job but it both
Today we buy gift cards.
helped the war eff ort and
Come along with me on a
trip down memory lane and put food on the table for his
family. Later, his job at Sears
see if you can relate.
My family’s early history bought Christmas gift s for
(both sides) was one of pov- his three sons.
One year when Chuck
erty. An orange in the toe of
about 8 or 9 Santa
a stocking was a big deal. It
brought him his favorite gift
also became a tradition.
My parents were born at ever — a Gilbert Erector Set.
the turn of the 20th century. He spent hours building
cars and even a motorized
My dad’s family of seven
roller coaster. It foretold
was dirt poor in Missouri.
his future as a craft sman
I don’t remember him ever
talking about receiving a
In my family, I remem-
gift . He and his siblings were
ber what seemed like lavish
barefoot and wore dirty
hand-me down clothes. His Christmases. Oranges and
apples were in stockings.
mother died of tuberculo-
Under the tree were new
sis when he was in the 6th
grade and he quit school to clothes and a toy. I still have
my Madame Alexander
go to work to put food on
bride doll. My favorite was a
Mother was an only child Schwinn bicycle.
Th e same one that I
and her dad originally was
later fall off while
a roughneck in the oil fi elds
racing the boy down the
BUDGET AND AUDIT
The City is seeking applicaƟ ons for two posiƟ ons on
the CoƩ age Grove Budget CommiƩ ee and one posiƟ on
on the Audit CommiƩ ee. They are all for three (3) year
terms. Budget CommiƩ ee terms expire December 31,
2021, and the Audit CommiƩ ee term expires July 2021.
The deadline to submit an applicaƟ on is 5:00 p.m.,
January 16, 2019. For more informaƟ on and to download
an applicaƟ on go to www.coƩ agegrove.org or call 541-
street. It put me in the
hospital with a compound
fracture of my left arm.
Our kids were blessed
with toys. Th eir dad man-
aged stores for Toy World! A
childhood dream world.
Th ey always knew what
the latest and greatest toys
were. Chuck would put
them on lay-away to be
brought home and wrapped
at midnight aft er the store
closed on Christmas Eve.
Kathy, our oldest, was
an avid doll collector and
had her own dad-built
playhouse in the backyard.
Her favorite? “My bike,” she
said. “In the pre-car, parents
drive the kids to a million
activities days … bikes were
our freedom, our connec-
tion with our friends, the
beach, shopping and more!”
Son Jeff was all about
speed and music: skate-
boards, model cars, model
airplanes and trumpets.
Grandson Matthew says,
“My absolute favorite gift
was a used MacBook when
I was in middle school.
Th is gift allowed me to have
something to create music
on; illustrate and sketch out
ideas; learn about things
through sources like You-
It was an incredible gift
that allowed me to learn ev-
erything from music mixing
to video editing and graphic
design. It is something that
will forever stick out in my
mind and I am super grate-
Ashley, our granddaugh-
ter-in-law remembers her
family’s on-going puzzle
Every Christmas morn-
ing there’s a new puzzle
for everyone to enjoy. She
says it keeps them connect-
ed and doing something
together with very little
Finally, John, our young-
est son, passes on a lesson
“When I was 13, I
wanted a 12-string guitar
more than anything in the
world. Knowing that no one
would buy me a brand new
12 string guitar for Christ-
mas — too expensive, too
extravagant — I put a janky,
used, “trampoline action” 12
string guitar on layaway at
Heck Music in Ventura.
“When my mom heard
about it, she drove me to
Heck Music, demanded
they give my money back,
and lectured me all the way
home saying, ‘Never buy
yourself something before
Christmas!’ I was humil-
iated, and angry. I knew
darned well I wasn’t getting
a 12-string guitar for Christ-
“On Christmas day,
my grandparents arrived.
Grandpa tossed me the car
keys and said, ‘Well, you
better get the presents out
of the trunk.’ I opened the
trunk, and sitting right on
top was a guitar case!
“I had to wait until all the
other presents were opened
before I opened that guitar
case. Inside was a brand
new, beautiful Yamaha
FG312 12 string guitar.
I played that guitar for
decades, until it was (sadly)
stolen from my offi ce about
10 years ago. Best gift ever!
“Th e moral of the story
is: Never buy yourself some-
thing before Christmas...
because you never know
what you might get!”
Merry Christmas, ev-
eryone! And may all your
memories be ones of joy.
Contact Betty Kaiser’s
Chatterbox at 942-1317 or
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R YAN Y OSS
Speak your peace.
Write a Letter to the Editor.
By Mary Ellen
‘Holden’ on to a Christmas miracle
ere is my favorite miracle wrapped beautifully in
Holiday Spirit. Christmas Eve 48 years ago my
husband, Howard, and I prepared for an unusual
— possibly depressing — Christmas holiday be-
cause my stepfather, Jim, had terminal cancer. But, never in a
million Christmases did we expect to end up immersed in a
miracle! At the time, we had to take the ferry from Vancou-
ver Island to reach the mainland where my parents lived. We
packed up Christmas gift s and our “traveling trouble-adors”
Channel and Camelot, Shaded Silver Persian cats whose fl uff y,
white winter coats resembled the cuff s on Santa’s red jacket. As
we pulled up to my childhood home, its Christmas lights spar-
kliness transfi xed me, transporting me back in time. I entered
the house into the kitchen where Jim’s well-stocked “pharma-
cy” stood as the ammunition in his war against pain and illness.
A heaviness hung in the air as if the Spirit of Christmas had yet
to make an appearance, or had refused to board the ferry with
us, purr-furring instead to remain behind on the Island with all
of our friends and neighbors.
We decided to make an early night of it and all went to bed.
I was the fi rst to awaken on Christmas morning. Everyone
else in the household was still peacefully asleep so even though
it was only 7 a.m., I decided to call my best friend, Rita, back
on Vancouver Island; aft er all, her giggling children would
have awakened her hours ago. “Hello,” she answered in a weak,
“Rita, are you all right?” I asked.
“Who is this?” came the reply from a total stranger.
Oh-Oh! Apparently, the busy holiday phone lines had crossed
resulting in awakening an elderly woman. I apologized for
waking her, but she said, “Not to worry. It is nice to have some-
one to talk to, as I don’t have anything to do today, nor anyone
to talk to.”
No one is a stranger to me, so we began chatting.
Rita’s number is a long distance, so I was curious as to where
this woman lived.
“Burnaby,” she said.
About 10 miles away.
I know that when
many phones are in
use wires get crossed.
But, how could this
be? Introducing her-
self, she said that
her name was Faith
and that she was an
Mary Ellen and Myster E. wish you and she did not have
a wonderful holiday and a New children. She contin-
Year fi lled with Joy and Health.
ued that she had no
reason to get up, as she
had no one to share
Christmas with. She was glad I phoned, calling it “A bit of a
Christmas gift .”
Faith and I talked for an hour. My mother awakened in the
meantime so I asked her if Faith could share Christmas dinner
with us and she said, “Yes.”
Faith hung up the phone. Hours later she caught the fi rst of
many buses. Little did the last bus driver know that he would
really be delivering a Christmas miracle. Excitedly anticipating
the arrival of our mystery guest, our home’s atmosphere was
transformed from “doom and gloom” into joy. In the skiff of
snow I met Faith at the bus stop. As a child, I frequently rescued
stray animals, but this new rescue was an adventure, resulting
in a wonderful visit, sharing a delicious meal and lots of laugh-
ter! Aft er dinner, Faith and I donned our coats in preparation
to drive her home but we were sidetracked by a miracle so ex-
traordinary that we are still in awe of it aft er all of these years!
Faith and my mother were saying their last good-byes when my
mother asked, “What is your last name?”
Faith replied, “Holden.”
“No!” my mother responded, “Th at’s our last name.”
We all experienced the shock of our lives when Faith, repeat-
ed, “My last name is Holden. H-o-l-d-e-n.”
What are the odds? Th e same last name spelled the same way!
How had we been divinely put together with someone with the
same family name? What a miraculous, Divine, coincidence!
Obliviously, the universe was saying, “Family is not by birth alone,
but also by Divine appointment. We are all one!”
Still in shock, (and our coats), we sat down on the living room
couch beside the ticking grandfather clock, unprepared for even
more as-yet-to-be-revealed surprises as Faith shared the story of her
life. Her husband was from England, as was my stepfather, Jim, with
both families migrating to the same city in Canada. Both of their
husbands were the second of four children, with the same combina-
tion of brothers and sisters in the same birth order, and all of the sib-
lings remaining childless aft er marriage. Faith and my mother had
attended the same high school. An amazing list of coincidences, as
if the two women were reading from identical books of life, reiterat-
ing one similar experience aft er another. How was it possible to dial
a long distance number on Christmas morning, but end up con-
necting with a “local” person who needed us as much as we needed
her? Unbelievably mysterious — God obviously works overtime on
Christmas. It is a Christmas and a miracle we will never forget! And
the clincher: Faith revealed that her phone number is unlisted! So,
even if we had wanted to locate her, we could not have, adding eve-
ning more mystery to this Christmas Morning Miracle! May your
holidays be magical, fi lled with miracles, family and friends. And if
the holidays look dull create some magic and memories for others.
Did you ever receive a pet for Christmas? Tell us the story at an-