Saturday, December 20, 2014

Christmas Season Post #4 - Roger's Childhood Christmases 1948-62 here in Fort William and Port Arthur, Ontario......

All of you may recall that last Christmas I did a few posts as well, one featuring my good friend Roger Rickards and all the wonderful toys he received when he was a child here in Fort William, Ontario.  Have a look again at last years post (link below) then come back to see more of Roger's childhood at Christmastime.
Last Years Christmas Post - Roger
....then scroll down for some more photos and we will decipher what is under the Christmas tree as well as a surprise way down at the end of this post.

Here is Roger in 1948 about 1 year old and under his family's Christmas tree opening up his treasures..... In Fort William and Port Arthur, Ontario back then, times were simpler, and of course as a child you had nary a care in the world....but like any child then and now, you could barely wait until Christmas to open up your presents.

The first of the toys Roger unwrapped was this wooden toy...I think every child must have had one of these at one time or another.  They were made by many manufacturers as well and called a toy lawn mower, clickety clack toy or whatever.
Be sure again to click on all the photos in this post once or twice to enlarge....
In this next 1948 photo Roger has many more toy presents opened including a whistling top, a riding steam engine and a wagon full of great treasures....some to be explained below....

The following collage is that of a number of riding steam engine toys of the era, and none of which were actually identical to his....

...Then the whistling top.....every child had one or more of these in their lifetime....

I have always appreciated vintage ornaments, especially the blown glass ones.  The vintage pine cone ones shown below were quite common for their day, but when my kid brother Corey was little, our parents put only plastic decorations on the bottom two feet of the tree, because there would be none left intact by the time Christmas came.

Here's Roger looking totally content riding on his train.... and look at all the wonderful items in the background....The American Beauty wagon, the tree light reflectors, the vintage (likely Zenith) upright radio that the family gathered around to listen to Christmas music and shows, and the toys inside the wagon.
Lastly, the icicles on the tree (we called them tinsel) that actually had lead content.
My uncle Wally had the most perfect tree of anyone I ever knew.  year to year he would actually iron the tinsel so they hung perfectly straight.  It would take him weeks to finish decorating the tree.

Below is a colour photos of what the American Beauty wagon would look like, and in the wagon was this fantastic little Ferry Boat toy complete with little 1940's plastic toy cars.  We're not sure exactly what the other items in Roger's wagon are.

The next two items are fairly close to what is shown in the black and white photo above.  Here we have a Zenith upright radio, which was an absolutely beautiful piece of furniture in the day, where the family would gather round every evening, sit together and enjoy all the excellent broadcasting that was available in those days.  Then there were the light reflectors (metal of course).  You would unscrew a bulb, place the reflector over the base of the bulb and screw the bulb back in.  I was always leery about getting an electric shock from these babies....and as I recall my dad did once or twice.

In this next photo, we are jumping ahead to 1953....Roger's brother Bob was just an infant (I don't see any toys for Bob...I guess Roger got all of the incredible toys shown here.  Bob was even too young for an abacus....well maybe the Bobo Clown was his....LOL
Their dog Panda also raked in a ton of his favourite canned treat "Pard Dog Food".'s the abacus and the slush cast RED tractor, likely by the Tootsie Toy Company.

.....and here is the Junior Doctor Kit, the Binoculars and the Bobo Clown which might have been Bob's...

Finally from the picture above we get to the PARD dog food....I'm thinking....could this be Roger'stoo?  Roger said his dog's name was Panda, but I don't see any dogs in any of the photos.  
                                              Forgive me Roger, I couldn't resist.... :-)

For these final few Christmastime photos and graphic items we jump to 1962...Roger would be about 15 years old, smack dab in the age of adolescence. we have colour photos.  
I truly loved the decorating in that era here in the Lakehead cities of Fort William and Port Arthur.  I remember my parents home looking almost exactly the same inside...similar nick-knacks, furniture and draperies.
BUT.....look what is just to Roger's left on the chair... It's an AMT model kit.....not just any model kit, but George Barris' New for 1962 Ala-Kart double the Ala-Kart and the stock model A in one kit.....WOW
We all loved our model car much so that I still build 1;25 scale model cars to this day.

OK....there is one more photo below.........SCROLL DOWN to see how we view Roger today........

WE HOPE YOU ALL HAVE A VERY MERRY CHRISTMAS 2014 - There will only be one more small post before Christmas Day - from Dave and his entire family at Hot Rods and Jalopies!!!

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