EMAIL mj.morris@live.ca


Monday, December 3, 2012

Dr. G.E. Young annual Christmas display delighted children of all ages plus letters to Santa Claus from 1948

Harriet (Newcombe) Bouillon collection

Whenever the subject of favourite memories of Christmas arises among those of us who go back to at least the 1950s, someone, or most likely everyone, unanimously will declare, "Dr. Young's Christmas display".
It was a highlight of the season for all ages to visit a magical land right in the heart of Chapleau. As I write, I am preparing to leave for a pre-Christmas visit to Orlando, FL, where Disneyworld is located. It just struck me that we had it, thanks to Dr. Young, for many years.

Dr Young 2005 by John Theriault
After Dr. Young returned to Chapleau for "six months" in 1944 to replace Dr. Crozier, he practised medicine in the community and along the CPR line and the outlying areas for 50 years, he bought a Buick car and  the residence of G.B. Nicholson, Chapleau's first reeve, and in due course, built over it to create his medical centre and apartment complex. For almost all the rest of his life, it was his unfinished masterpiece.  

Jean Newcombe and Doc (red jacket) with friends Harriet collection
Soon after moving in to the Nicholson residence he started the annual Christmas display that delighted children of all ages for years.

When I asked him one time why he bought the Buick, he replied, "I thought I should because all the doctors I knew drove Buicks". 

Just recently, Harriet (Newcombe) Bouillon was in touch to let me know she has some photos of Dr. Young's display, and I immediately asked if I could use them. Harriet agreed, and I thank her very much for sharing some moments from Chapleau's past that were so much a part of our lives.

Harriet (Newcombe) Bouillon collection
As I reflected on my own years growing up in Chapleau, I think the display and the lights and the music were most meaningful as we walked from our home on Grey Street South on usually bitterly cold Christmas Eve's to the midnight service at St. John's Anglican Church.

Along the way, and on the way home we would meet and greet folks from Trinity United Church and Sacred Heart Roman Catholic Church, and when I was a teenager, I would run between St. John's and Sacred Heart to attend the service there with some of my friends.

Harriet (Newcombe) Bouillon collection
All these years later, although Dr. Young leaves a legacy as a medical doctor who cared for so many of us, memories of his Christmas displays permit us as adults to enter again into a child's world. And indeed, when we do, we are homeward bound.

George Edward 'Ted' Young, M.D. died at age 95 on December 14, 2010 in Chapleau.

Let me move on to The Kiddies Corner, a popular feature in the Chapleau Post and as Christmas approached, it contained Letters to Santa. The Chapleau Santa Claus Parade was scheduled for December 11.

Harriet (Newcombe) Bouillon collection
Here are some of the letters in the December 2, 1948 issue of the newspaper.

"Hello. It's good to hear that you're coming back. We were good kids and we know you'll bring us lots of presents, candies and nuts. Also we hope to see you at the Christmas parade to shake your hand and say hello." -- Dee, Cheryl and Jack Byce

"Heard you were coming. I have not seen you in 6 years. Last time I saw you was in Toronto and I had my picture taken on your knees. Wonder if you could give me a steam engine or an electric motor for my mecanno set. I would like you very much and I would appreciate it. So long for now. Hope I'll be seeing you on December 11th." (the day of the parade in Chapleau) -- Leo Vezina

"Dear Old Santa: You will soon be here now. So long since I saw you. Four long years. Wish you would bring me a sewing machine, a sweet grass sewing basket, printing sets, story books and a game. Thanks a lot." -- Doreen Cormier

"How are you? I am looking forward to seeing you. Santa I am a pretty good boy so would you give me a pair of skis about 4 ft. long and a pistol with two cases, and a little milk truck for me. If you come to my house I will leave you some cake and tea." -- Clarence Edwards

"Would you please get me from toyland a little doll and a high chair to go with my doll. I am three years old and I like dolls very much. I do not know how you'll get in my home because it has no chimney but please get in some way. Maybe by the keyhole. Thank you Santa." -- Ginette  LeBrasseur

"I am a good little boy six years old. I would like you to bring me a box of large tinker toy or anything that runs alone. Don't forget to fill my stocking. Thank you very much." -- James Schafer 

"I'm only a little boy so my mama is writing for me. Now for Christmas I would like a tricycle. My brother Emmett would like a train and Baby Brian wants a dolly. I'll be waiting for your airplane to arrive..." -- Joe Connelly

"I would like from you a big kiss but I guess I can't get that so I want a dolly's stroller. I like you Santa and a beautiful doll bed with covers, and believe in you."  --Geraldine LeBrasseur

"I am a little girl five years old and I would like you to bring me a nice big doll, a pair of skis, an umbrella, doll clothes, plastic sets and a paint book." -- Jo Ann Moyle

"Will you please send me a cap gun and two boxes of caps please and a belt for the guns. Will you please send me a truck. Bye-bye, hope I see you at the parade." --Bobby Pountney

"I heard you were coming to Chapleau. I hope you won't forget to bring me something and also to my two sisters: May, three years old and Lauraine, two years. As you know Devon is not far from Chapleau." -- Helene Gionet, Devon

Thanks to Harriet (Newcombe) Bouillon and Ken Leclaire who sent me the Chapleau Post. My email is mj.morris@live.ca

No comments:

Michael J Morris

Michael J Morris
MJ with Buckwheat (1989-2009) Photo by Leo Ouimet


click on image


Following the American Dream from Chapleau. CLICK ON IMAGE