Whitesburg KY
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Christmas brings Marlowe memories

At Blake and Chasity Mason’s household shower are (left to right) Charlene Tacket Mason, Esther Tacket Wagner, Jeanette Tacket Yonts and Delores Tacket Holbrook.

At Blake and Chasity Mason’s household shower are (left to right) Charlene Tacket Mason, Esther Tacket Wagner, Jeanette Tacket Yonts and Delores Tacket Holbrook.

It is so hard for me to believe in two weeks it will be Christmas. Where oh where does the time go, and why does it seem to go by faster the older we get?

This week at Letcher County Senior Citizens there will be a Senior Safety Day on Wednesday, Dec. 13, and they are beginning a new exercise program at 10 a.m. on Thursday the 14th. Then on Friday the 15th there’s a shopping day planned. We also wrote letters to Santa last week and I wanted to post a few this week and next. Some are meant to be funny and others took them more seriously.

Dear Santa, What I want for Christmas is for you to get my wife out of the stores.

I would like a box of Hershey Kisses.

What I want for Christmas is money.

What I want for Christmas is a Silverado truck and a girl.

I would like 1 loaf of bread, 2 packs of ham, 3 gallons of milk, 4 dozen eggs, 5 gold rings, 6 cats, 7 dogs, 8 frying pans, 9 pairs of socks, 10 light bulbs, 11 candy bars, 12 dollar bills.

Dorothy Pennington Tacket and Margaret Combs at the 2015 Marlowe Reunion.

Dorothy Pennington Tacket and Margaret Combs at the 2015 Marlowe Reunion.

For Christmas I would like socks.

What I want for Christmas is good health, peace in our country, family to know the Lord, peace and love in family, for the homeless to be fed and warm throughout the winter.

Good health, for our country to let God lead our President Trump in all decisions, for everyone to have good health, plenty to eat and a good, warm place to live.

I just had to share this post from Margaret Combs that she posted on Growing

Up in Marlowe Camp Facebook page last week. I know there are some who read this column that aren’t on Facebook so I thought you would enjoy this if you were a former Marlowe Coal camper.


“I’d like to go back there. Just for a day. As I sit here and reminisce at 3 a.m., it’s almost time for Christmas and family time. I can remember the Christmases we had at Marlowe. As time grew closer to Christmas Eve the more exciting it became. We didn’t have a lot of money but we sure had love. A few of us would go from house to house collecting money to buy fruit and food baskets for those less fortunate. Even though we were all the same. We loved just giving to others. If only things were like that now. We had so much love in our little community and couldn’t wait to share it. We looked forward to dark because we knew Santa Claus would be coming while we slept in our small bedroom with a fireplace stacked high with coal. Dad would bank the fire and it burned all night. Toasty warm little room with a bed and dresser with a big round mirror. Wallpaper and old newspapers covered the cracks in the walls. As we lay there so excited. It was so hard to go to sleep because we couldn’t wait to see what Santa left the next morning under the real live tree strung with popcorn and ice sickles and bubble lights. Santa didn’t come until we were sound asleep. Sometime in the morning hours we would hear, ‘Ho, Ho, Ho. Merry Christmas.’ Then a thump, thump, thump of Santa’s feet then the door would slam. He had done his job until the next year. We would jump out of bed and rush to the tree. Mom and Dad always there waiting to see the excitement on our face. The last Christmas I can remember when I was little my sister Sherry got a Tiny Tears doll and a bag of candy and fruit. I got a bride doll. Oh how excited we were. I’d like to go back, just for a day. Mom made clothes for our dolls later on. I had a homemade dress just like my doll, made from organdy and rickrack. Bet a lot of you don’t know what that is. Oh what a joy it was to have my doll dressed just like me. We would look forward to getting back to school after the holidays so we could talk about what we got for Christmas during recess as we sat eating our lunch. Maybe a peanut butter and jelly sandwich or sometimes a bucket of milk and bread that we shared. Boy was it good. I never remember Mom and Dad getting a gift from Santa but, boy, they were sure happy and excited about what me and sis got. We were the most blessed people in the world because we had a wonderful family, a warm house and good friends. Most of all we had Jesus. We always sang Christmas carols on Christmas Eve. We went to every house. We were always in church on Sunday mornings. I look back and I really wonder how we survived but we were happy and never realized how poor we really were. Oh how I’d like to go back. Just for a day.”

Jo Ella Taylor Sturgill and Margaret, thank you for sharing this. It made me cry with precious memories of days gone by. As I read this it brought back Christmas at our house at Marlowe. We were all the same, poor but rich with love of God, family and friends. We didn’t know how poor we were until we left Marlowe and saw how other people lived. I would not trade my life at Marlowe for anything. It taught me everything that I needed to make it in this world. Back then we were taught respect of God, others and our country, things that aren’t taught around the family dinner table today.

We were all one at Marlowe. We cried together, laughed and shared with all. Not many communities had the love that we had for each other and it has lasted all these years. Like you said, Margaret, I wish I could go back and live just one more day at Marlowe, where we didn’t know the word stress and drugs and all the other things we have to face in our world today.

I wish my children and grandchildren could live one day as we did at Marlowe. They would see how we had to live and we turned out pretty darn good without all the things that people think they can’t live without today.

Thank you for taking me home to Marlowe at Christmas one more time. Wish we were all there today. Love you my friend and thank you for being my friend all these years. Merry Christmas.

Billy Hatton, great stories Margaret and Jo Ella! We had no idea we were poor but, every friend and relative we had were the same situation. Wouldn’t have had it any other way!

Mahala Reynolds Frazier, many dear friends and neighbors!

Sharon Webb, remember going Christmas caroling? I think you were the leader when you became a teenager. One year I remember snow on the ground and singing carols. Really special.

Margaret Combs, Sharon, we went caroling no matter if it rained, snowed or the sun shined. We enjoyed it. Sometimes the snow was up to our butt, and that was ok. We looked forward to the holidays. Everyone was happy.

Well Margaret Combs and Jo Ella Taylor Sturgill, you got me. I have a lot of those same memories. You guys are spot on. We were dirt poor but we didn’t know it. Everybody in Marlowe was in the same boat. Thanks for the memories.

Doug Profitt, I really love all my friends from Marlowe and Belcraft, Sandlick areas. As Jo Ella Taylor Sturgill said it taught us everything we would need to make it in this world.

Bertha Dye, I would love to go back to the good old days where I could be happy. Love all my Marlowe family. Merry Christmas to all.

Astor Hatton, I still have my Bible from then. A.P. Williams was our preacher. I miss those days.

Doug Profitt, boy there’s a name I haven’t heard in a while. He was a good man.

Margaret Combs I can remember a Sunday school teacher by the name of Mona. Can’t remember the last name. She was a wonderful teacher. Astor, I still have the Bible she gave me for memorizing 10 Bible verses. Such happy days. I can still hear that old church bell ringing.

Sharon Webb, Mona Adams? She was the daughter of Virgie Adams and John? They lived below the church. Is that the one you are talking about?

Astor Hatton, I’m thinking her dad was Dee Adams and they lived in the house before the church. I’m thinking he was a foreman at Marlowe.

Shelia Page Shortt, was it a two-story house on the left? Daddy went there a lot and it was an Adams man that grew up there but had moved to Florida, I loved that place.

Billy Hatton, it was a single story house on the right in front of the church house, across from the scale house. It had several large trees in the front yard. Astor Hatton, Dee Banks lived there before.

Billy Hatton, Dee did live there but he wasn’t a miner. He worked in bookkeeping for the Elkhorn Jelico Coal Co. Great guy though. I remember carrying buckets of coal in his house a few times.

Jo Ella Taylor Sturgill, Esther Tackett taught also or her sister.

Margaret Combs, yes, I loved Esther also. She was such a sweet lady.

Linda Boggs, it sums up how we all would like to go back and have one more day at Marlowe. It just was happiest carefree days of our lives.

This conversation and many others are on their Facebook page. Even though I am a second-generation descendant I still love meeting and talking to these people, especially when Mom is with me. Her face just lights up when she gets the chance to talk about her life and the people there.

Mom’s sister Linda Hall is still in the nursing home and desires your prayers. Lizzie Mae Wright was telling us today that my uncle, Robert Wagner, is in the hospital at Pikeville. She said he just got short of breath while preaching at a funeral last week and they admitted him. So, we aren’t sure what was wrong with him so remember to pray for him.

Also, Mom’s cousin, Beulah Caban, lives in California and they had to evacuate last week because of the wildfires. They are back in their home now but there are still lots of smoke and ash in the air. So, keep praying for them and all those involved in this situation. The firefighters need our prayers too. Last but not least, remember those who have lost loved ones and are celebrating the holidays without them.

Until next week just remember what Oma would always say, try your best to be in church somewhere Sunday and I say if your church has services Sunday evening or throughout the week God would want you there then, too.

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