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From the Dec. 1, 1945, Eagle

Eagle Archives, Dec. 1, 1945: Soldier tells Santa Claus he hasn't forgotten how Eagle Fund aided his family

NORTH POLE — Tears trickled down Santa's big red cheeks this morning as he read a letter from a former Pittsfield, Mass., U.S.A., boy, now serving with the occupation forces of the Army in Japan, who recalled a visit to his home "when I was a kid" and the "going was tough." The writer wrote feelingly of his reaction to a visit Santa made to his home with gifts purchased by The Eagle's Santa Toy Fund.

"When I was a kid in Pittsfield," wrote the soldier, "I remember one year things were so tough around Christmas time that I spent most of the days before the holiday picking up wooden boxes, pieces of lumber and sticks of wood wherever I could find them to keep our house warm. My father was out of a job and we had three kids in the family. We had too much pride to apply to the Welfare Department for aid so we did the best we could, hoping Dad would get a break on a job. Christmas Eve came and he was still out of work.

"Some organization sent a big basket of fruit; another sent a turkey all cooked with all the fixings and we jumped with joy. We went to bed that night, looking forward to a big Christmas dinner. At 6 in the morning we were awakened by a rap on the door. No one was in sight but we found on the doorstep a big sack which we lugged into the house. It was filled with toys, mittens, sweaters and some candy. The card merely said Merry Christmas. While we never knew who sent the gift, I always had a sneaking suspicion that it came from The Eagle's Santa Toy Fund.

"I wanted to tell you about this because out here we have plenty of time to think about home, and our thoughts always go back to the days when the going was rough. When I get paid next week I will send a small contribution with the hope that your visit to our house may be repeated to some other family's house in Pittsfield so they'll know how it feels not to be forgotten."

Santa remembered the visit to that soldier's home. He hoped the public would remember too.

This Story in History is selected from the archives by Jeannie Maschino, The Berkshire Eagle.

Community News Editor / Librarian

Jeannie Maschino is community news editor and librarian for The Berkshire Eagle. She has worked for the newspaper in various capacities since 1982 and joined the newsroom in 1989.

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