Gloria Stanley, member of First Presbyterian Church, wrote this reflection for the Christmas season:
Pastor Emma’s sermon on Sunday made me sit back and reflect on the past 50 years of my life. I will be 70 on
January 2, and I cannot believe where the years went. I remember in 1963 I was about to celebrate my 20 th
birthday, the teen years would be no more and I was already anticipating being 21, the age at which I would be an
adult (able to Party) my Mom told me “you are going to 20, do not wish your life away, once you are 21 the years
will fly by.” She was right, they flew. I sit and remember this time of year during the past 50 years. When I was 20 it
was a wonderful time, shopping and gift giving and of course receiving. I would sit in front of the Christmas tree in
the living room just wondering what was under there for me. I would be excited for Mom and could not wait until
she saw what I got for her. Packages would come from my Sister and there again “what is in there”? I still have the
ladies electric shaver she gave me that year. Unfortunately we were not members of a Church back then, not sure
why, there was a Catholic church right down the street, a big Methodist Church on Woodward avenue but too far
away and no transportation.
What was going on in 1963; 50 years ago when I was 20? The biggest news of that year was the assassination of
John F. Kennedy on November 22nd. Civil rights leader Martin Luther King Jr was arrested, films included “The
Birds” “The Great Escape” and popular TV programs were “The Virginian” and “Lassie”. Ladies fashion included
fur boots and towering hair do’s. Beatlemania after the release of “I Want to Hold Your Hand/I Saw Her Standing
There” hit the air ways.
Yearly inflation rate in the USA was 1.24%
Year End Close Dow Jones Industrial Average 762
Average cost of a new home $12,650
Average Income per Year $5,807
Gas per Gallon .29 cents
Average cost of a new car $3,233
Loaf of Bread .22 cents
Bedroom Air Conditioner $149.95
Technology: AT&T introduces touch tone phones
The first prototype Learjet takes off
Zip Codes are implemented in the U.S.
Popular musicians were: The Beatles, Roy Orbison, Buddy Holly, The Drifters, and Jim Reeves
Popular Tv Programs were: The Andy Griffith Show
The Dick Van Dyke Show
Our Church celebrated its 50 years a few years ago, and several of our members celebrated 50 years as members
& I know that they have stories to tell about the past 50 years. As the 2012 Holiday season draws near, I am now
alone, Mom, my Sister and Brother are gone, the house is empty but the memories remain. I know how much they
loved Christmas, Mom singing in the Choir at First Church and playing Christmas music on her piano (Art Snook)
tuned it up for her. I would hear her playing as I entered the driveway coming home from work, she would have
the house all decorated, it felt so good.
When she passed I thought that I would not do Christmas anymore, but that thought changed as the holiday drew
near. I just had to decorate for her memory, and I thought perhaps I may not be here next year to decorate, so I do
a little, but enough to hold her memory, and I am not really alone; The Lord is with me always, I invite him into my
home each day of the year and on Christmas Eve after our Church service I come home to my little Dog Dexter, we
invite Jesus in to share the rest of the evening together, perhaps talk to a few friends on the phone and thank God
for what I have, thank him for the wonderful memories of family and friends who are no longer here. I just want to
hold Christmas for what it truly is and I am full of joy along with a little sadness this time of year remembering the
past 50 years of laughter and tears, joys and sorrows. I made it – Thanks Be to God – I made it this far.
What about your past 50 years, if you have that many?
Member, First Presbyterian Church