Convention and Visitors Bureau
We all have memories that are part of our souls, part of who we are today. We make these memories throughout the years, but Christmas brings out the truly defining memories from childhood. Maybe for you it is jingle bells and Santa lists, popcorn balls and chocolate fudge. Caroling on our neighbors’ doorsteps and hot cocoa afterwards in the church basement. The excitement only a child can know on Christmas Eve and seeing Santa for the first time to whisper your Christmas wishes in his ear. Elves hidden in the Christmas tree, and decorating the tree with homemade ornaments. Fake snow spray for the Christmas tree and the tinsel that was painstakingly hung on the branches. Driving around town to look at the Christmas light displays, and the memories of going to the farm to find a Christmas tree! These are some of my fondest Pocahontas County Christmas memories.
My most cherished childhood Christmas memories come from my grandparents. My grandmother’s pink Fostoria candy dish filled with hard candy is a memory I hold dear to my heart. My grandmother would get out that special dish only during the holidays and fill it with old-fashioned candies that came in an assortment of flavors. I am sure many will know the candy I am describing. The dish is a splendid example of Fostoria. Ornate in nature and so delicate we were almost afraid to touch the dainty lid and lift it off to see what was inside. But we would always overcome that fear to get to the sweets. We were never too greedy and were always excited when we saw the dish on the coffee table. Our favorite, which we would sort through to find, were the raspberry candies with the soft raspberry cream fillings. Once those were gone, we would carefully inspect, guess flavors and then eat the other candies each time we visited. Ribbons of candy. Rolled and cut candy that was supposed to resemble fruit. Lemon drops. Peppermints. Oblong straw pieces of flavored candies. All colors, shapes and sizes. A sweet delight to the eyes and to the taste buds. These candies today are probably to some like fruit cake is to others. But to me, this candy is a fond memory.
I researched the dish, and amazingly I found it. It is a Miss America Pink. The Fostoria Glass Company made pressed, blown and hand-molded glassware and tableware, and began operations in Fostoria, Ohio, on December 15, 1887, on land donated by the townspeople. The new company was formed by men from West Virginia who had experience in the glassmaking business. The company went defunct 99 years later.
And then there was the aluminum Christmas tree. A brilliant art deco tree of the times. My grandfather was so proud of that artificial tree. It was possibly the only one on Hamilton Hill. He would take great care in assembling the five feet tall tree. We were mesmerized by its shimmer. The accessory that illuminated the tree, an electric spinning color wheel, would rotate, giving the aluminum branches bursts of four colors, green, red, yellow and blue.
Of course, my grandparents would decorate the house with old Christmas decorations they had acquired during their long marriage to complement the modern aluminum tree making a perfect mix of nostalgic tradition and moving into the 1960s with flare.
I did a bit of research to learn more about the aluminum Christmas tree. The aluminum tree is widely thought to be the first non-green commercially successful artificial tree to be sold. In the 1800s, white Christmas trees emerged with homemade white cloth wrapped around leafless tree limbs to appear laden with snow on every branch. It seems the aluminum Christmas tree was actually considered a symbol of commercialization of Christmas in the late 50s and 60s. Many thought it was an inappropriate Christmas decoration and it was even featured as such in the now legendary 1965 A Charlie Brown Christmas. Despite this, my grandparents embraced this new style of tree and truly enjoyed it, as did my twin sister, my brother and I. Today, the aluminum tree is to some a highly prized piece of art and has found its way into museum collections.
The aluminum tree is long gone, a Christmas decoration I miss and yearn for each year, but the memory is forever etched in my mind. I will hopefully one day acquire an aluminum tree and give this memory to my future grandchildren.
The now vintage and rare pink Fostoria candy dish is a cherished heirloom I still have in my home. Like everyone, I try my best to recreate those wonderful Christmas memories I have of my grandparents so that my children might share the same fond memories.
I get out the pink Fostoria candy dish each year and fill it with those store bought old-fashioned candies.