Christmas 1952: Dad and me

Everyday until Christmas, I am going to try to post a picture from a past family Christmas. 

Christmas 1952 Dad and me

Christmas 1952

Here is the father who went without lunch and saved his lunch money to buy the Rita Doll in my last post.  He did many other things for me throughout his life.  He built me a doll house, a model train layout, and ran to every store in the area with me to find red wax lips that were popular at that time.  He was always there for me, gave me advice, tutored me in history, walked me down the aisle, and was a wonderful grandfather too.  I know he liked my husband because he told some friends of ours that he hoped when their girls grew up they would find someone like my husband. I loved my dad, and I have no doubt he loved me.  So many times I wish I could talk to him and get his advice now.  But that will have to wait until another time.   I still have the manger scene under the tree.  You can’t see the dress I am wearing very well, but it was made by Aunt Fran, my grandmother’s sister.

Copyright © 2019 Gail Grunst

Christmas 1951: Rita Doll

Everyday until Christmas, I am going to try to post a picture from a past family Christmas. 

Christmasa 1951

Christmas 1951

In 1951 Santa brought me a Rita Doll.  You can see by the picture that she was half my size and she walked.  Oh, how I wanted that doll, and when I was older my mother told me that my father went without lunch and saved his lunch money to buy me that doll.  It meant even more to me after hearing that story.  Once her arm came off and we took her to a doll hospital to be fixed.  This picture was taken in my bedroom and that little dresser was painted pink and blue.  Every year we would go the A&P food store and buy one of those little trees for my bedroom.  There were lights on it and you can kind of see the cord going up the wall and around the door to be plugged in.  I like the paper chain on it, and I remember there were some glow-in-the-dark stars and icicles on it.

Below is information about the Rita Doll from

The Paris Doll Company ad for the Rita doll states: Rita’s a must – See her during Toy Fair at the Hotel McAlpin Rooms 1046-48, doll is unmarked.  Hard plastic head with glued on saran wig, hard plastic jointed body, sleep eyes, real upper eyelashes, painted lower lashes, open mouth with teeth. Came as a black or white doll.  May have been dressed in several different outfits one of which was a Majorette, as well as shown in the ad wearing a cotton plaid dress with white sheer pinafore trimmed with red satin ribbon, white socks and mary jane shoes.  Doll is unmarked24 or 28″ tall.

Copyright © 2019 Gail Grunst


Christmas Family Portrait 1948

Everyday until Christmas, I am going to try to post a picture from a past family Christmas. 

Christmas 1948 Family

Christmas 1948 Family picture

The picture was taken on Christmas Eve 1948 in my parents apartment.  On the left is my grandmother holding a doll, Fran my grandmother’s sister is next to her, my mother is in the kitchen doorway, I am next to my mother, Pat (Fran’s daughter) is front left, my Uncle Russ, and Grandpa.  I assume my father is taking the picture since he is missing.  I always like looking at the background in these old pictures.  In this one you can see a little into the kitchen.  There is an old stove with a kettle sitting on a burner.  The stove has a shelf and on the self is a clock and two coffee carafes.  I remember that kitchen was very small, and there was a small table that fit the three of us. Notice the knick-knack shelf on the wall.  I think my mother had that one and others in all of her houses until the day she died.  I know my grandmother did.  I don’t see them anymore, but they were kind of nice for displaying items.  I know I am always looking for shelf space to display things.  A few of those around would help.  The knick-Knack shelves now are plain square boxes. I love to see how styles of furniture, kitchen appliances, clothes, and hair styles change over the years.  The trees were always real with the bigger lights and tinsel.


Two Beauties Christmas 1949

Everyday until Christmas, I am going to try to post a picture from a past family Christmas. 

Pat, Mom and Tommy Doll

Christmas Eve 1949

You can’t tell this picture is from Christmas, but it is from Christmas Eve 1949.  I have to laugh at my mother’s face.  She made this face when when she didn’t like something.  So was use to seeing it.  In 1969 when I saw Lily Tomlin on Laughin playing Ernestine the telephone operator, I told my mother she reminded me of her.  My mother was insulted, but I meant it as compliment.  Click link to take a look at Lilly Tomlin as Ernestine and compare the faces.  This picture was taken in our apartment and was probably the first time my mother hosted Christmas Eve.  Our family tradition was we had Christmas Eve at our house, and opened our gifts after a visit from Santa. On Christmas Day we went to Grandma and Grandpa’s house for dinner.  Sitting next to my mom on the sofa is her cousin Pat.  She is holding a doll, that I probably received for Christmas that night.  I called it my Tommy doll.  I don’t know if that was the name from the manufacturer or something we came up with.  It is interesting that it is a boy doll.  At that time most dolls were girls.  I remember the doll, but don’t remember playing with it very often. My mother wrote on the back of the picture, “Two beauties — Xmas 1949”.


Christmas 1948: Taby

Everyday until Christmas, I am going to try to post a picture from a past family Christmas. 

Taby Christmas 1948

Taby 1948

It looks like he is wearing a party hat.  Maybe it was New Years Eve.  The back of the picture just says, “Taby 1948”.  I think he was a mutt, but don’t know what mixture of breeds he might have been.  I was about three when we was taken away.

I have a vague recollection of Taby.  He was my parent’s dog when I was born.  I believe Taby was my father’s dog before he married.  My parents lived with my grandmother when they were first married so Taby knew their house.  When my parents moved to an apartment across town Taby would go back and forth between the two places.  My mother said that he was very good with me.  I was told that the neighbors complained about him.  I don’t know what he did to upset the neighbors, but it became impossible for my parents to keep him in an apartment.  I have often wondered why my grandparents didn’t take him.  They had a dog and apparently when my parents lived there the dogs got along.  But the sad story is that we had to get rid of Taby.  My father took him to a shelter “Orphans of the Storm”.  I was promised when my parents bought a house we would get a dog and we did.  We never gave up another one.  They are with us until they take their last breath.  I am a big believer that when you get a dog you keep it.  They are not a piece of furniture that you throw away.  Every time I see a picture of Taby, it breaks my heart.  Just writing about Taby brings tears to my eyes.  I wonder what happened to him, and I hope he got a good forever home.



Christmas 1927

Everyday until Christmas, I am going to try to post a picture from a past family Christmas. 

Mom on Horse with Santa 1927.jpg

Mom and Santa 1927

This is my Mom again with Santa in 1927. I don’t think I ever saw a Santa outfit quite like this one. Love the outfit my mother has on.  It looks like it would be warm.  My grandmother wrote “Howe Street” on the back.  So I am assuming that this was taken on Howe Street in Chicago.  No date on picture other than 1927, but I assume it is near Christmas and there is snow on the ground.  I wonder did Santa walk up and down the streets of Chicago to have his picture taken with children.  We are use to seeing Santa in department stores.  The picture appears to be a professional one, not just a snapshot.  

Copyright © 2019 Gail Grunst

First Christmas 1947

Everyday until Christmas, I am going to try to post a picture from a past family Christmas. 

Christmas 1948 Gail

Gail’s First Christmas

This is my first Christmas and we are of course at Grandma’s house.  I can actually remember some of the toys.  Rudolph on the left is one that I remember.  I think I had him for several years.  The Teddy bear on the right I had well into my grown-up years, and I think I might still have him packed away in the attic.  I look happy and I am clapping my  hands.  Where is everyone?  

Copyright © 2019 Gail Grunst

Christmas 1948 Opening Presents

Everyday until Christmas, I am going to try to post a picture from a past family Christmas. 

Openng Christmas Presents 1947

Openng Christmas Presents 1948

This is the family opening their presents in 1948.  What a mess!  It looks like our typical Christmas.  One habit that the family had was every one opened their presents at the same time.  No one could see what the others received nor see their reaction to the present.  After I married, I suggested that we open them one person at a time.  For a few  years we drew names to see who would go first, second and so forth.  After the kids came along they went first and then we went by age.  Oldest was the last one.  On the left is my father, and grandmother.  My mother is sitting in front of the tree with a sweater in her hand.  Grandpa is in the corner chair holding up something that looks like it could be a pair of pants. On the right is my grandmother’s sister, Frances, and  her daughter Pat. You can see my play pen in the picture.  Missing from the picture is my Uncle Russ so he is probably taking the picture.

Copyright © 2019 Gail Grunst

Christmas 1943

Everyday until Christmas, I am going to try to post a picture from past family Christmas’ each day. 

Dorothy Christmas 1943

Mom Christmas Time 1943

This picture is dated on the back January 1, 1943.  My mom age 18 is sitting on the floor.  At first glance, I thought it was my grandmother.  But when blown up on the computer, I’m not so sure.  It could be my grandmother’s sister, Frances.  Notice the granny square afghan on sofa.  In yesterday’s picture there was a pillow with a granny square pillow case.  The tree sure lights up the corner. Our family tradition was always put the tree up the weekend before Christmas and take it down the day after New Years Day.  This was especially true with the live trees.  Once we went to artificial trees we may have put them up earlier, but still took them down right after New Years day. I can’t tell what she is holding in her hand.  I remember that table next to the tree being in that same spot forever.  Next to it is one of those ash trays on a pedestal.  You don’t see those around anymore.  On the wall near the ceiling it looks like it was stenciled, and the crown molding is something you don’t see very often anymore in new houses. For me it is interesting to see the changes made to my grandparents house over the years, although a lot stayed the same. 

Copyright © 2019 Gail Grunst

Christmas 1940

From now until Christmas, I am going to try to post a picture from past family Christmas’ each day. 

Russ and family Christmas 1940

Fred. Dorothy, Russ, and Helen Christmas 1940

I love this picture of my grandparents, mother, uncle, and their dog.  My grandfather is sitting in a wicker chair with a glass of wine.  My mom is sitting on the floor next to him barely visible, and my uncle is sitting on the floor with the dog.  My grandmother is next to my uncle on floor. I noticed the crochet pillow on the sofa.  My grandmother made afghans with crochet squares like the ones on the pillows.  The sofa was a wedding present to my grandparents from my grandfather’s parents and there was a chair that matched.  The sofa and chair lasted 57 years and was reupholstered twice during those years.  It was still in good shape when they had to sell their house and go to a nursing home.  I also noticed the plants in the window.  She always had lots of plants in her front windows.  The Christmas tree is in the corner and I notice that in addition to the electric lights there are candles.  One looks like it very close to the curtains.  In this picture my grandfather is 44, my grandmother 42, my mom 16, and my uncle is nine years old.