Tomorrow morning is Georgetown’s annual Christmas parade and I can’t wait! It starts at 11:30 and from what I’ve heard it’s going to be a doozie!
Remember the excitement of the Christmas parade when you were a child? I remember walking down Front St. from our house, Mama trying to keep us all together during the parade. Near the end, we’d crane our necks to see Santa and when he finally appeared, we smiled and waved wildly.
“Yep, it’s me, Santa . . . the girl with the pigtails and I live just up the street and I’ve been so good you wouldn’t believe it.” As soon as he was gone, I’m sure we started giving Mama fits as we trudged back home.
In 1954, when I was five years old, the parade had 30 units, including five marching bands. The Winyah Grammar School band, known as the “Little Gators,” led the parade. Bands from Winyah High, Howard High, Andrews High, and Conway High also participated.
Duncan Methodist Church had a float with a choir singing Christmas carols. The most remarkable float had a merry-go-round in motion provided by a group from Silver Springs, Florida.
You’re probably thinking by now that I have the most amazing mind to be able to remember all these details from a parade that took place fifty-eight years ago.
Well, I got a little help from the History Room at the Georgetown County Library where they have all the old issues of The Georgetown Times on microfilm.
Moving right along, let’s skip to 1959, when I was ten. That year, the participating bands were from Winyah High, Howard High, Maryville Elementary, St. Cyprian’s Parochial School, and St. Mary’s Parochial School. Their Drum and Bugle Corps was fantastic.
Miss South Carolina, Tootsie Dennis, was in the parade, as well as the Myrtle Beach Sun Fun Festival Queen, Diane Taft. The City of Kingstree was represented by Miss Kingstree, Emmalee Gaddy.
Surely the most eye-catching float was the merchants float. Five college girls – Edna Earle Ward, Trudie Johnson, Kathleen Lee, Mary Williams, and Lois McCracken – were in bathing suits.
The float featured a huge missile towing two of the girls on water skis. Besides the missile float, there was a 10-ton National Guard truck towing a huge cannon capable of firing shell with an atomic warhead.
Wait a minute! Did all of this military weaponry have something to do with the Cold War? After all, we were having those ‘Duck and Cover’ drills at school where we crouched under our desks and covered our heads with our hands.
No matter, all was well at the end of the parade when Santa appeared, ending all thoughts of missiles and bombs.
On Dec. 10, 1959, the Georgetown Times printed the yearly ‘Letters to Santa.’ Kenny Ballard, eight years old, asked for a bicycle, tent, bear, gun and holster, and some clothes. His sister, Elise, a fifth-grader, asked for a knitting kitten, autograph hound, Remco Dialmaster, dolls, doll clothes, and a Concentration game.
Among other things, Dal Avant, age seven, asked for a BB gun so he could go hunting with his Daddy, but only if Santa thought it was safe.
Seven-year old Jane Mitchum emphasized, a little too emphatically, that she liked to go to Sunday School and hadn’t missed a Sunday in over a year. She asked for two dolls and a Collie puppy.
I loved the letter from Donna Kay Hardee. She asked for a doll, doll crib and clothes, a pair of shoes for her Mother and a pack of Beech Nut chewing gum for her Father.
Little Sharon Lee Parker asked for a doll, a mop bucket and a broom so she could “... help Mommy keep the house clean.”
See you at the parade tomorrow and look for the goats on a float!
To the Georgetown Times .. .thanks for the memories.
I may be reached at (843) 446-4777 or email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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