Shortly after Thanksgiving my brothers and I began watching for the mailman to arrive at our farm mailbox. Clarence Corning was our mailman, and he drove a blue car. You could set your watch by his arrival, which was always at eleven o’clock.
We were patiently waiting for the arrival of the Sears Christmas catalog, the wish book as everyone called it. And when it arrived, we spent most of time when our chores were done and our homework finished poring over its pages. Page after page of toys—Tinker Toys, Lincoln logs, board games, dolls, BB guns, Yo-Yos, windup trains, teddy bears, and books, pages of books. And clothing, too, but we were more interested in the toys than the clothing. We each could pick out one toy and one piece of clothing—I usually selected a book, and often a sweater, or a plaid flannel shirt.
I especially remember 1946, for that fall we had been wired for electricity, but it didn’t come to our farm until the spring of 1947. For our 1946 Christmas, Mother ordered a metal erector set for the three of us to share. With the erector set we could build windmills, steam shovels, and cranes. The set included a little electric motor. But we had to wait until the following April to plug in the little motor and power the wonderful machines we had created.
Sears first published the Sears Christmas catalog in 1933 and continued to publish a print version until 1998. For us old timers a little bit of Christmas disappeared when we could no longer find the Sears “Wish Book” in our mailboxes a few days after Thanksgiving.
THE OLD TIMER SAYS: Wishing is still something we can do—even without the Sears “Wish Book.
December 19, McFarlane’s, 780 Caroline St., Sauk City, Wisconsin. 1:00 p.m. Discussion and signing of Wisconsin Agriculture: A History.
Purchase Jerry’s DVDS and his Books from the Patterson Memorial Library in Wild Rose, Wisconsin (a fundraiser for them):
The library now has available signed copies of Jerry’s DVDs, Emmy Winner, A Farm Winter with Jerry Apps and Jerry Apps a Farm Story.
Also available are several of Jerry’s signed books including The Quiet Season (on which the DVD A Farm Winter is based), as well as Rural Wit and Wisdom and Old Farm, (which are related to the DVD Jerry Apps a Farm Story). Also available is Jerry’s new novel, The Great Sand Fracas of Ames County as well as Whispers and Shadows and his newest nonfiction book, Wisconsin Agriculture: A History.
Contact the library for prices and special package deals.
Patterson Memorial Library
500 Division Street