Sunday, December 26, 2010
Eight-year-old Virginia O'Hanlon wrote a letter to the editor of New York's Sun, and the quick response was printed as an unsigned editorial Sept. 21, 1897.
“Yes, VIRGINIA, there is a Santa Claus. He exists as certainly as love and generosity and devotion exist, and you know that they abound and give to your life its highest beauty and joy.
If little Virginia had written that letter today the editor’s reply would have gone something like this:
Yes Virginia, there really is a Santa Claus; he lives in the North Pole but many of his elves live right here in Fleming County!!
You see Virginia, some folks don’t believe in the magic of Christmas so they may have trouble with the whole idea of Santa. But let me assure you my dear child, the very spirit of Christmas live in the hearts of all those elves.
The eternal light with which childhood fills the world would be extinguished without the help of our Community Christmas elves.”
The Eleventh Annual Community Christmas was held Wednesday, December 15, 2010 at the Fleming Mason Energy Auditorium from 10:00am-6:00pm.
The event was made possible through collaboration among many different community agencies, Toys for Tots Program, churches and businesses in an effort to provide Fleming County’s most needy children with a wonderful Christmas!
Jennifer Griffitt, a disabled single parent of four children between the ages of seven months to twelve years, said she was extremely grateful for the event.
“It’s very heartwarming to know there are so many people in Fleming County with such caring hearts”, Griffitt said. “It’s really hard to provide a nice Christmas for my kids with the economy the way it is. I really appreciate how the Community Christmas Event helps bring joy and excitement for my kids on Christmas morning.”
As parents shopped during the early morning, holiday music filled the auditorium while cinnamon rolls, hot chocolate, coffee and various breakfast goodies were kept warm for everyone to enjoy. A warm meal was also provided for those who shopped later in the day.
So yes Virginia, because of all the hard work that Santa’s elves do throughout the year to make Community Christmas possible, the light and love that is the spirit of Christmas is alive and well in Fleming County.
On a cold December day in 1924 a Christmas play took place at the Myers Station School.
Little Nola McFarland was in the first grade that year and remembers with clarity the song she sang about a doll her older sister had sent her for Christmas.
“Now look at my big Christmas dolly, now isn’t she sweet as can be. I named her Polly Molly; she came on the big Christmas tree.”
Born September 11, 1919, the fourth child of William and Emma McCarty McFarland, Nola grew up in the village of Myers Station in rural Nicholas County.
Times were hard in the early 1920s and many families struggled to feed and clothe their families during the harsh winters.
Nola remembers the hardships her family endured, but despite growing up in poverty, her childhood days were filled with the love of family and friends.
“My daddy worked for the L& N Rail Road when I was a just a little girl, and he worked as a contractor. Work was scarce in the winter so we didn’t have much money. We done well to have food for Christmas dinner, we were very poor,” Nola said.
“A pie or a cake was a real treat for us because we only had such things at Christmas time. I remember how mommy would get the fattest hen she had and cook us a big meal on Christmas day and she would always bake a jam cake and a white pineapple cake for us. A pie or a cake back then was an extra special treat because we only had them once a year.
Sometimes I would be sad at Christmas because I would see all the toys the neighbor kids would get like sleds, wagons, baby buggies and bicycles, but we were such a close knit community and they always shared the toys with me.
When I was older I did get a few nice things for Christmas each year. One year Mommy sent me to the post office, I think I was about twelve years old. Well, there was a little box with my name on it. I opened it up and there was a watch in it. And then there was the year daddy got me a guitar.
The house we lived in was between the school and the Myers Station Church. The railroad ran past our house and one day mommy said, “Come look out the window”, and there was a circus train coming down the tracks. The first thing I saw was a big old long neck giraffe.
Now when I started first grade a new school had been built. My brothers and sisters had gone to the old one- room school. The new school had a lunchroom and we could get a penny lunch in a tin cup. My daddy and my brother helped to build the new school.
Mrs. Stella Wasson was my first grade teacher, a good teacher but very stern lady.
There were 2 bells, first bell we lined up on the walk, saluted the flag, 2nd bell, we marched up to the second floor where our classroom were and sang a gospel song then read from a chapter in the Bible.
I loved school and did real good in Spelling, Reading and Writing. But Arithmetic was hard for me.
We always got a treat at school during Christmas time. Each of us kids would get a little brown bag with some nuts and an orange.
Another treat was getting to decorate the big Christmas tree at school.
The boys would go out in the woods and get the biggest tree they could find.
The girls would gather the shiny paper from empty cigarette packs and twist the paper up with batten to hang on the tree. We would also string popcorn and we hung that on the tree. It was real pretty when we got it decorated.
There was a bank by the little church were we would sleigh ride. I never had a sled; daddy didn’t have much work in winter.
Marylyn and Carolyn Cameron lived right behind me and they shared their sled
Mildred and Katherine Berry were two of my best friends back then.
One of Mrs. Nola’s favorite memories is the time she got to go into Carlisle.
“I was ten years old before I was ever in Carlisle, the first automobile that ever came out over there was a Model-T and George Himes had it and he would load up a bunch of us kids and take us to Carlisle”, Nola said. “I rode on the fender all the way to town.
I hadn’t been used to seeing all the houses and school all I one place so when mommy asked me how I liked the town when we got back, I said, mom I couldn’t see the town for all those stores and houses.”
And there was the time she and her little friend were struck by lightning.
“Little Donald Cameron lived with his parents and grandparents and his aunt in the top of the store at Myers Station. Well, the little thing stayed down home a lot. One dau mommy was choppin wood nearby, and Donald and I were sitting in chair in middle of yard. Mommy took her load of wood into the kitchen. Little Donald wanted to go home so I took him by the hand and we started across the yard when this great big red thing just fell out of the sky and there was this awful boom, I wil never forget it. I came to on a bench inside the store. When I came too I asked if Donald was okay and they said the strike knocked him loose from my hand and that it was a wonder we hadn’t been killed.
I have many wonderful childhood memories of seeing the train bring all the Boy Scouts down to Camp Black Hawk. And of the time me and my friend decided to take a boat down the river. Ed Flora had bottom land full of watermelon, my friend would cross the fence and get us one and we would bust it and eat it there in the boat.
I remember the big flood of 1937 and how our neighbors had to rescue us from our house. They came and got us in a boat and took us to one of our neighbor’s homes that weren’t under water. That was such a scary time. It rained and rained and rained and I thought it was gonna be like the Great Flood in the Bible.
In her teen years Nola went to work at the Myers Station Post Office and has fond memories of getting lots of letters from soldiers who had been drafted during World War II.
“My brother Clarence was drafted in April and I was working at the Post Office then. Well my friends brother was drafted too and he was in a tent with a bunch of other soldiers and he gave my name and my friends name and address to his buddies, so my friend and I got all kinds of letters from them.
The War was such a scary time for us. On Saturday nights I would go down to my friend Mildred Berry’s house and listen to a music show on the radio. President Roosevelt would break in the station to tell the War News and we would just hold our breath for fear of who may have gotten killed in the war. The first war causality in our area was Lloyd George.”
According to Nola, George’s mother was standing on the front porch when he left for war and he looked back and said, “Well mom if I don’t see you anymore the old gray mare is yours.”
While she worked at he Post Office Nola was engaged to Raymond Lach.
“It was close to Christmas when Raymond took me to Flemingsburg to introduce me to his mom and dad; they ran the Western Auto Store. Raymond and I met in 1941 but he got killed a year later about a month before we were supposed to get married.”
Following onset of World War II, Hansley Mills sprung up in 1942 on High Street in Paris, KY, producing men's underwear to supply expanding needs of the U.S. military, and there Nola joined "Rosie the Riveter" as a sewing machine operator.
“A bus would come to Myers Station and stop at the store. I would get on the bus at 5:30 am to go to work and return home around 6 pm.
In April, 1948 Nola went to work closer to home at Giffin Manufacturing a small undergarment factory on Main Street in Carlisle,
1964 the company changed from Giffin Manufacturing to Blue Grass Industries.
Nola met her husband to be at the Black Berry Festival. On December 27 1950 she married John David Faulkner.
Even though life was hard, some of Nola’s fondest memories are of those childhood days spent growing up in the village of Myers Station. A place where she recalls how a close knit community loved and cared for each other.