|Dr G E Young old house At Christmas|
When we were kids growing up in Chapleau in the 1940s, after World War II, Branch Number 5 (Ontario) of the Royal Canadian Legion, sponsored the annual Santa Claus visit and Parade each year.
Ted Soucie, a World War II veteran, and Legion member, was responsible for a column in the Chapleau Post, where we, me included, would send letters to Santa.
In his column, Mr. Soucie would also include updates on Santa, such as this one in November 1949 advising that Santa had written him, advising that his plane was now ski equipped, and the ice was forming "nice and thick" on the river at Chapleau where he would land. His sleigh and the reindeer would be waiting.
Before I go any further with this, I have just seen some photos on Facebook of Santa's 2015 Chapleau visit, and congratulations to all on making it a huge success.
As I was browsing through digital versions of the Chapleau Post kindly provided to me by Doug Greig, I realized that I had recent photos of some of those who had written letters in the late 1940s, and I had visited with them during the past three years --- some at the 90th anniversary reunion of Chapleau High School in 2012, others at that great party at the home at the home of Butch and Brigitte Pellow in Toronto in 2014. I saw others when I was home in the Summer to launch "The Chapleau Boys Go To War" with my co-author and cousin Michael McMullen.
Such fond memories of growing up Chapleau!
And yes. some were there for all three occasions, again proving the maxim that you can take folks out of Chapleau, but you can't take Chapleau out of us.
Anyway, I decided to do that was then with a few of the Santa Claus letters from our growing up days in Chapleau, to photos of this is now with some of the same people taken in the past three years. So here goes.
"Dear Old Santa: You will soon be here now. So long since I saw you. 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
|Ian, Jim, Ann, Doreen (2014 at Harry/Brigitte party|
"I would like two Gene Autry guns. I would like 5 and a half foot skis and a Dale Sleigh. I would like a standard size ukulele and a hockey game, pool table, hockey stick and puck and a Pedro Target game." -- Bill Cachagee
(Bill Cachagee and Doreen Cormier later married and now make their home at Fox Lake First Nations Reserve)
|Bill and Butch|
"So glad you are visiting again. I am writing a letter for my baby sister, my twin brother and sister and myself. Patsy my baby sister wants a new doll, also Bunny slippers. My brother wants a model builder and fire truck. My sister wants a doll house and furniture. I would like boots or skates, a sewing kit, also Chinese checkers." -- Ann Keays
(Ann Keays and Jim Machan married. I could not find letter from Jim to Santa. They attended the CHS reunion in 2012 and the Toronto party.)
"I would like a two wheeled bicycle but my Mother and Daddy think I am too small yet." -- Ken Schroeder
(Ken and family members spend part of each Summer at Chapleau where they have a cottage)
|Ken and Elsie (Collings) Pellow 2012 CHS reunion|
"I am glad you are coming to Chapleau again this year. Would you please bring me a Fleetwing sleigh, carpenter set, blackboard, and a Lone Rider cowboy outfit with gun." -- Bruce Poynter
"Will you please bring me a Barbara Ann Scott doll, and a Bubble set. also some books and crayons.Bring Georgie a horse and Teddy a duck on wheels." -- Sharon Swanson
(George and Ted are Sharon's brothers. Sharon lives in Chapleau)
|Sharon with MJM and Mike McMullen|
And finally, my letter, " I am very glad you are coming back to Chapleau. I would like a pair of skates and a pair of binoculars."
I am the guy from Chapleau, who lives in Cranbrook BC but writes weekly about "that place' in Ontario, and loves going back and forth to Orlando, Florida.
I did not find letters to Santa from Ian Macdonald and Harry Pellow but left them in the photos because they are still so interested in the community. Michael McMullen is too but moved there in the early 1950s. My email is email@example.com