Cooleemee first graders learn about Christmas in the ’30s

Published 9:04 am Thursday, December 8, 2022

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By KC Smith

Cooleemee Correspondent

First graders at Cooleemee School were excited, well behaved and loved all things happening at the Zachary House on Friday, Dec. 2.

The Cooleemee Historical Association received all Cooleemee kindergarteners for the teachings of 1930s Ole Time Christmas in Cooleemee.

Many antique toys were waiting to be examined and played with by each student upstairs where the library used to be.         Several of the toys had to be demonstrated on how to play with them.

No one in the group knew what a “Slinky” was and thought it was cool.

The little girls are always attracted to the dolls and iron, and one doll was off limits because of how fragile it was.

A group of boys were taught how to play “Jacks”, not an easy game but they hung in there and didn’t give up.

The xylophone was played many times, pulling the string of a train to follow behind, and I don’t care how many times the crank of the “’Jack in a Box” was turned, the children always jumped and screamed.

In the days of high technology, they were actually having a lot of fun playing with toys made of wood, metal and virtually no plastic.

The children sang Christmas Carrols while the piano was played.

Full attention was on Susan Wall as she taught the children how to cut a hole in an orange, place a peppermint stick in the hole as a straw and the juice of the orange would come up through the peppermint stick.

With repeated warnings of not using the knife themselves, they were to ask a parent to cut the hole and then they could enjoy the drink.

I overheard a child say, “yea, it would be fun if you had one.” I bet when they found an orange and peppermint stick in their paper bag or “poke” they were happy.  Each child received a poke to take home.

I told one teacher the children were so well behaved, her response was with a smile, “this is very rare.”

Each student hung their handmade ornament on the cedar tree and tossed real cotton on the tree to look like snow.

A child asked where the lights were and they learned in 1930 there was no electricity.

What a wonderful tradition the CHA provides for the kindergarteners each year.

A big thank you to all the volunteers for all their hard work and to the teachers for taking the children for a short walk to learn about Christmas traditions in Cooleemee in the 1930s.

The museum is in the Zachary House on Church Street in Cooleemee, open on Tuesdays from 1-4.  The volunteers welcome you to see all the pictures, artifacts and more.

Feel free to contact me at 336.250.1133 or I would love to hear from you.