Mary Sue McGinn and David Schlemmer join Lou Alexander from last week to tell us their memories of Christmases past. Remember to tell your children and grandchildren what you remember about Christmas when you were a child.

Mary Sue McGinn remembers Greensburg as a child. She said, “As I look back to my childhood in the mid 1950s I begin at the northeast corner of the Square in Greensburg. There was an ice cream, soda shop and candy store. It had a large soda fountain with stools. A popular place for sodas and sandwiches.

“Going west just a short distance was the Elks Club. My mother would take me to their dining room sometimes. We’d have lunch and I remember white table cloths and perhaps linen napkins. Moving on down to the northwest corner on Washington Street was the Fair Store. So many things from toys, comic books, puzzles, crayons, sewing notions, and even buying just one button if you wanted. My husband bought his first and only electric train set from the Fair Store in 1952. He still has it and it’s even been set up around our Christmas tree a few times.

“Diagonally from there was the G.C. Murphy Co. with a big variety of things including fabric, patterns, clothing, toys and my favorite reason for going there, especially with my grandmother, was the candy counter. It had loose candy sold by the pound. My treat was the candied orange slices.

“Walking just a short distance further on that west side of the Square was Newlon’s Shoe Store. I think all of my shoes came from there when I was in elementary school and maybe beyond. At Christmas they decorated their two windows and always had shoe displays in those windows. I remember the stools the salesperson sat on and you placed your foot on to help size and fit your shoes. Mr. Newlon often helped us.

“My memories of Christmas years back, in the 1950s, was the annual trip to downtown Indianapolis to see the Christmas window displays at the department stores: L.S. Ayres, William H. Block Co. and Wasson’s. Each year about two weeks before Christmas my parents would take me to see the decorated windows. That was a Christmas tradition for many years. Animated figures, beautiful scenery and decorations and Christmas music. That was a very special treat.

“We’d always go to lunch at the King Cole Restaurant after seeing the windows. I remember feeling so grown up going there to eat and being served so formally. What a blessing to have the memories I’ve had for so many years now. It’s such a blessing to have childhood and family memories.”

David Schlemmer lives in Arizona now but his Christmas memories are about Decatur County and Greensburg.

“Funny you ask about my Christmas memories,” he said. “I was just sharing with some friends about outdoor decorating at Christmas time in Greensburg. Each year we ask Dad for something else to put outside. Back in the day there was a contest, maybe sponsored by the Daily News. We came in 2nd place like 4 or 5 years in a row. There was guy on East Street, between Central and North Street, that always beat us. He had an antique sleigh with music and wonderful lights. We never did win, but had so much fun decorating for Christmas.

“I also remember those Christmas Eve services at the Presbyterian Church. Loved singing Silent Night at the end with the real candles that everybody would light and filed out with. Christmas at our house was always a special event. My parents always had an open house after church. Just remember all the great food and friends that stopped by. Jayne and I continued that tradition years later, after Mom and Dad we no longer able to do it. Really miss all those wonderful people.”

I tried to look up who did win those contests David spoke of but no luck. Maybe you remember.

Pat Smith may be contacted at

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