Yes, it was the most wonderful day of my life. The bells rang very early
that Christmas morning. I didn't know why, for I was only 6 years old.
Grandmother was unable to care for four additional children, so she had made arrangements to place us in E.O.H. (Ebenezer Orphans Home, Ohio). We ranged in age from 1-1/2 years to 8 years. We were placed in our departments for a few months before the holidays (1919).
When the bells rang, we jumped out of bed and hurriedly dressed. We were led to the "sitting room." There was the most beautiful tree, I had ever seen. Our matron spent the night decorating the tree with yards and yards of strung popcorn and lighted candles clamped to each branch. We circled the tree and heard the story of the birth of Jesus. We sang Christmas carols and each of us blew the candles out and marched to the main dining room.
There to our amazement was another beautiful decorated tree. I cried along with many others. Tears of joy and sadness, I wanted Mom and Dad in all this excitement. Gifts for all of us (200 kids).
In the distance we could hear "Jingle Bells." In the door came father (superintendent) laughing a big "Ho Ho" and dusting the snow from his Santa suit. He walked among us, letting us know friends whom we never met, remembered us on this day; as was Jesus.
As our names were called, I found sister and brothers, we huddled together and cried, for what I didn't know. We let baby brother tear into the wrapped packages.
To this day I can't remember what we received, but will always remember the joy of belonging and how it is much better to give than to receive.
Can you picture 200 packages under a tree? That meant 200 wonderful caring people opened their hearts and purses to some very lonesome and thankful kids.