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Treasured memories

Peabody Main Street Association

As a life-long resident I have many treasured memories of past Christmases spent in Peabody.

I have seen Santa arrive on many occasions in many different types of equipages. He has arrived in buggies, carriages, station wagons, fire trucks, etc. Santa always makes his appearance in his signature red suit trimmed with white fur. In my time, he has been known by various names — Santa Ross, Santa Jack, Santa Jesse, Santa Ralph, and recently Santa L.H.

Sometimes Santa wants to get out in the community other than at the holidays but he is such a celebrity he has to wear a disguise.

Santa Ross used to disguise himself as the butcher at the IGA.

Santa Jack would sometimes trade his red suit for a policeman’s badge and walk about checking the doors of the local businesses.

Santa Jesse often came to town in jeans and a chambray shirt. He still filled his pockets with candy and he forgot he was incognito and hugged everyone who looked like they needed it. His smile and the twinkle in his eye always gave him away.

Santa Ralph just couldn’t keep from laughing and people would always wonder where they had heard that sound before. He would just tug at his white beard and laugh some more.

I had always thought Peabody’s unique architecture lent itself beautifully to the Christmas season. The buildings have been outlined in white lights now for a number of years and the glow illuminates the dark, winter sky like a crown of jewels.

I often think of Christmases I spent as a child at our beautiful, old grade school. I see myself on the stairs above the main entrance with my classmates as we gathered around a huge Christmas tree to sing carols.

I remember walking past the McKercher house on Maple Street at night when the lawn was covered in glistening snow and a large Christmas tree adorned with colored lights shone in the downstairs casement window. It’s twin was shining down from the upstairs window.

One of my favorite Christmas memories is of the sugar cube church that decorated the window of Betty Walker’s dry goods store for many years. It didn’t really do anything, like play music or open the doors or anything but I used to stand and look at it for long periods of time as though it might.

Across the street at the KPL office, Maxine Ulsh would decorate the window with a tiny village and all the accessories. I have my own village now and I think about the one in the window every time I get mine out.

I hope someone else out there shares some of their memories. I know you have many more of your own. Pull them out, dust them off, and accept our wishes for a very Merry Christmas from Peabody, Kansas.

Last modified Dec. 17, 2008

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