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Christmas time stirs up a number of fond childhood memories for Canton resident Sharon W. May, who remembers that even though her family had very little in the 1930s, there was plenty of love and joy in the home.
"When I was little, I got a doll one year. The next year, I set her by the Christmas tree when I went to bed. The next morning I discovered Santa had put her in a new doll buggy, a baby carriage. It always impressed me that he put my doll in the carriage," May said. The doll's name was Sandra.
"I think I was 5 when I got Sandra and I was 6 when I got the doll carriage. That's practically all we got except flannel pajamas, and a toy," said May, who today has a large family of two children, six grandchildren and five great-grandchildren.
"We didn't have much," she said.
Before they moved to a farm in northern Pennsylvania in the late 1930s, May's family lived in New Jersey, where her father, Wilmer Wilcox, worked on a farm.
Another cherished Christmas memory May shared was of the time she and her older sister and brother received a spanking new sled from their father. The children were about 4, 6 and 9.
"We three kids rode on that one sled. I was on top because I was the smallest," May said with a laugh.
However, it wasn't until the children were all grown that they learned the truth about the sled's origin.
"My dad had gone to a junkyard and found this sled that was kind of beat up. He brought it home, painted it and wrote the letters s-n-o-w-b-i-r-d on it," May said.
Every year the family had a Christmas tree that they cut from their farm.
"We would go with dad, up over this one little hill. There was a bunch of trees. We'd traipse up there, pick out a tree from our own land, and bring it home," she added.
The sled is long gone, but Sandra the doll lives on. She is in the Troy Farm Museum, which May's father, a lifelong dairy farmer, started in 1990, two years before he died at the age of 97.