Fern Blohn, Grant Iowa, 1920’s
My Grandma Fern had a friend “from Home” (meaning Grant Iowa) who she had a sort of Christmas Present Armageddon with every year. She’d receive a huge box with dozens of wrapped presents, and she’d send off something similar. Most of the things were just tiny knick-knacks – even freebies. The lady’s husband owned a Chrysler dealership, so things like promo pens and calendars were included. I’m sure my Grandma did the same with trinkets from Montgomery Wards where she worked.
Anyway, I can remember helping her open all those individually wrapped presents and being just amazed at the variety of stuff, from a nylon slip to a coffee cup exhorting us to “See the USA in your Chevrolet” to a stationery set with some sickly-sweet painting of puppies or flowers on the cover.
Even to a kid who LOVED to get presents, this seemed just a tiny bit over the top. As an adult I know now it’s a story of two people who were proving to each other every Christmas that the Depression was over, their sharecropper times were done, and they had riches beyond measure, enough to share.