What Do You See Outside YOUR Open Window Today?

What Do You See Outside YOUR Open Window Today?
Remember: "When God closes a door, He always opens a window!" You never know what might be out there waiting for you!

Tuesday, December 13, 2016

Christmas on Elmwood Street, Part Two (Updated and Reposted)

Our home on Elmwood Street, Circa 1929

The continuing story of my dad, "Billy" Mursch, at the age of ten, around 1928-29. He shared these stories with me when he was about 89- or 90 years old, and I am so glad I listened!  Otherwise, they would be lost forever.   Be sure to read the Part One, reposted earlier. (Christmas on Elmwood St. Part One) I originally posted these for the past several Christmases, and this year I am reprinting them again in loving memory of my Dad, "Billy Mursch", who passed on to be with the Lord in 2011.  Be sure to watch for the 3rd part sometime in the near future...I hope you will enjoy reading these as much as I enjoyed hearing these stories from my father's own lips.  Reading them again brings him closer to me somehow...

Part Two:

Wintertime was an idyllic season for us kids on Elmwood Street. When the snow fell the town would close off some of the side streets and the kids could ice skate in the flat icy areas and go sledding down the hilly snow-covered streets. We’d build a fire in an old oil drum so we could warm up between sled rides. Many a day we stayed outside until our noses were red and our toes were numb, and then we dragged our sleds back to our warm cozy houses for some hot chocolate and steaming bowls of soup at the end of the day.  

Another favorite Christmas memory was the smell of cookies baking in the kitchen, and then the many tins of cookies and other goodies, stacked up on the attic stairs to keep fresh, waiting to be eaten by family and friends at Christmas. We kids were forbidden to touch the containers before Christmas…but it sure was a temptation! My favorite cookies were Anise Cookies and Sand Tarts. These were very special old German recipes that my mother loved to bake for our family, and we sure loved to eat them!  (Recipes can be found on my blog page- "It's Recipe Thyme"---Another New Recipe)http://pamelasopenwindow.blogspot.com/p/its-recipe-thyme-new-recipe.html

When we set up our Christmas tree, it was traditional in our family to put a toy train under the tree. The train that we used was actually built by my father, and I still have it today. When I was a little older I designed a very unique village to go with our train. Prior to Christmas I would go out in the woods and gather Sphagnum Peat Moss to be used as grass and to fashion small trees for our village. Then I constructed little houses and other buildings for the village by using the wood from the apple boxes brought home from the grocer. One year our village was quite elaborate as I set up a small lake in a pan in the fire box of the fireplace, and placed the moss and trees around and laid out the railroad tracks to run from one side of the bookcases lining the fireplace to the other. I built a mountain on one side and constructed a hotel on top, complete with people and cars and trucks. On the other side was a farm, with a barn, silo, farmhouse, and animals. Next to the farm was a Nativity Scene with Mary and Joseph, the Baby Jesus and the other members of that holy place. Down in the village the train ran through town and made its stops at the local schoolhouse, the Village Church, stores and depot. This project was a forerunner of the hobby that I would enjoy for many years as an adult.

The Christmas Tree and the Train Village I made as a child. (Billy Mursch talking)
(click on pictures to enlarge, and then use back arrow to return to blog)

Another view of the Train Village under the Christmas Tree in the living room
at our home on Elmwood Street.

"The locomotive and train  is the one my Dad made for me.  The village
was an elaborate creation that got better every year as I learned how to
add more interesting stuff to it."  (per Billy Mursch)

Please check back next week to hear the rest of this story...it keeps getting better...!http://pamelasopenwindow.blogspot.com/2010/11/christmas-on-elmwood-street-part-three.html
(You can click on these pictures to get a close up view).


  1. What a treasure! The pictures, the stories. What a treasure! Thanks again Pamela/

    1. I'm so glad you enjoyed this. I hope you went back and read Part one as well. Part three is coming soon!
      Merry Christmas!

  2. What an idyllic childhood! Sand tarts? hmmm....will have to see about that!

  3. I am really enjoying this series and the photos that go along with it.
    I love getting to know people like this.

    1. Thank you Annie. You would have loved my Dad. He was quite an interesting and fun loving man, right up until his passing at age almost 93. I miss him every day! So glad that I have these special memories of his to treasure and share.

  4. How creative and talented your father was, even as a young boy! I'm so impressed by his skills and by his words that bring back memories of idyllic Christmases.
    Blessings, Pamela!

    1. Thank you Martha Jane. I am so glad you are enjoying this little glimpse into my father's childhood so long ago. I am thrilled that I was able to capture these stories and save them for "posterity".

  5. How wonderful that you still have the train, the old black and white photos, and stories handed down from your Dad.


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