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!

Monday, December 12, 2016

Christmas on Elmwood Street- Part One -Reposted again from 2014...Enjoy!

UPDATED DECEMBER 2014, 2016....

I posted this series the last four years prior to Christmas, and it was a big hit.  This is a true story about my Dad, written from his own perspective.   In 2011 the story became even more precious, because my Dad passed away earlier in the year...so I am reprinting this series again in honor and loving memory of my Dad, William F. "Billy" Mursch.  This story is in three parts, so I will add the next chapter later, and so on until it is complete.  I hope you will enjoy this little blast from Christmas Past...

I originally wrote this story  for my father's Christmas card several years ago, which was sent to all of his family and friends for Christmas.  I will add a little more each day until it is complete. I hope you enjoy this glimpse into the life of my Dad, "Billy Mursch", when he was about 10 years old.  (written from his perspective)
The Home of "Billy Mursch"
Elmwood Street, Crafton, PA
(double click on pictures to enlarge view- then back arrow to return to blog)

Billy Mursch, with partial
views of his sister Marion (top right,
and his brother Paul (rt.)

A Chapter in the Life of “Billy” Mursch

Crafton, Pennsylvania
Circa 1929

As a young boy growing up in the 1920’s and 30’s in a small suburb of the big city of Pittsburgh, I would say that I was very typical for the time. Of course, the fact that I had a head full of bright auburn hair made my life a bit more interesting, and created opportunities for others to attach various knicknames to me like “Red-headed Billy Goat”, which resulted in great chases on the school yard. My friend “Brinkie” (Ralph Brinkman) and I could take care of the bullies all right.

Elva and Bill Mursch
(Billy's parents)
My family moved to our brand new home on Elmwood Street right about the time of the beginning of The Great Depression in 1929. My Dad had our house built from a kit that he purchased through the Lumber Yard in Crafton. It was a Craftsman style one story and a half bungalow, with a big front porch, walk up attic, and a basement. I immediately claimed the attic for my special museum where I kept my treasures of rocks, fossils and shells from our trips to Lake Erie. My Uncle Jack also brought me some interesting fossils and shells from his travels in Bermuda, which made my museum even more unique. I later expanded the museum to the basement, using a large refrigerator carton as my display cabinet for other artifacts, such as the small pieces of a crashed airplane that we discovered over at the County Airport. As any young budding archeologist might do, I once was attempting to reconstruct the skeleton of an old Airedale dog that had been buried in the woods for about a year by one of our neighbors. Everything was just fine until my mother smelled the peculiar stench of old bones boiling in a kettle on the laundry boiler wafting up from the basement and permeating the house above. That particular artifact had to be removed from the museum and re-buried in the woods post-haste! I was only trying to get the skeleton nice and clean for the museum. So much for my career in archeology!

L to R: Paul, Billy, Ruth, Marion, and neighbor boy Bobby Scott.
Christmas was a wonderful time, even during The Great Depression. Although my father had a good job at U.S. Steel in Pittsburgh, money was still very tight for our large family. You see, besides my parents and myself, there were my three siblings: my older sister Marion, my younger brother Paul, and our baby sister Ruth. Being typical kids, we each had our own little lists of what we hoped Santa would bring us, and we’d start dropping hints several weeks before the big day. My particular desire was for the latest edition of The Boy Ranchers series of books. I couldn’t wait to find out what the “Boy Ranchers” would be doing next. Some of the intriguing titles of those books were: The Boy Ranchers in Camp; The Boy Ranchers on the Trail; The Boy Ranchers Among the Indians; The Boy Ranchers on Roaring River; and The Boy Ranchers in Death Valley, to name a few of my favorites. It was awfully difficult for a young boy to have to wait a whole year to get the next edition of his favorite book, but it was always well worth the wait!

The other item that we could usually expect to receive for Christmas was a new pair of shoes. These shoes had to last all year, as they were the only pair we could hope to receive, so it was imperative that I learned how to take good care of them. The shoes I remember most were my leather high top boots that had a little pocket on the side for my Boy Scout pocketknife! No boy in that era would be caught dead without his trusty pocketknife always ready to whittle some stick or cut a trail through the woods or build a fort. The high tops looked really sharp with the knickers we still had to wear. The only thing better would have been to finally be able to wear long pants!

Sometimes before Christmas we would take a ride downtown on the streetcar to Pittsburgh and walk through the streets of the city and look in all the department store windows. Kaufmanns and The Joseph Horne Co. always had elaborate displays of toys and electric trains and all the newest and best things any little boy or girl could wish for. However, for many children, with the depression looming over our nation, that was pretty much all it was…a wish.


  1. I can just hear Daddy telling this story!
    I miss him so much!

    1. Me too. I'm so glad I had the opportunity to really listen as he shared these stories from his childhood. These memories are real treasures. I wish I'd listened and remembered MORE of his stories! He had some good ones!!
      Love ya, sis!!!

  2. Thank you Pam, for re-sharing this interesting story about your dad's youth.


    1. Thank you Kim. I am so glad you enjoyed it. It was such a special time when my dad shared these stories with me. I am so happy that I took the time to write it all down. A precious part of history!

  3. Fabulous story so far, Pamela! I'm looking forward to more installments, that's for sure.

    1. Thank you Martha Jane! I am so glad you enjoyed this little story. It was fun writing it, especially while my Dad was still living and he gave me these details. I am so happy I saved it.

  4. Awww...what a delight to hear of your dad as he tells a story of his youth.
    My dad was a great one for telling stories about his youth too. I miss those times with him and hearing more of his life. So happy that I took the time to listen and tuck it all away in my heart.

    I look forward to the continuation.

    Have a blessed evening~~

    1. Thank you Debbie. I am glad that you are a kindred spirit about appreciating the stories and lives of our parents/grandparents...someday WE will be the ones trying to tell our grandchildren about our lives...I hope they will listen too! That is why I try to write so much...hoping it will be passed down from generation to generation...


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