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Senior Living: Seniors recall their fondest memories of winter


The sweetest memories of the year can be made during the season of winter. Family gathers. Stockings are hung above the fire. There are twinkling lights, sounds of music and smells of homemade baking in the air.

We stopped in at The Carolina Inn at Village Green and Carolina Highlands to ask some of our favorite seniors to recall their most cherished winter memories from years past.

“I think my favorite memory is when we adopted our first baby, Joy. She was three days old.

 That was 55 years ago. It was really an outstanding memory. She was aptly named. Now, people call her Joybell. At Thanksgiving, I loved the turkey dinners with my in-laws especially. My wife and mymother-in-law were both good cooks. They’d grind up the cranberries and grind up the oranges and make a cranberry salad with nuts. My mother made a wonderful cake. It had raisin icing. The cake was yellow and made from scratch. There were no box mixes in the 30s and 40s. And we’d gather around the piano and sing hymns. I’m a pianist. Everybody’s favorite was ‘What a friend, what a friend we have in Jesus.’”

-Darwin Townsend, Public School Music & Choral Teacher for
30 years

“At Thanksgiving, that’s normally when we got most of the family together. I’ve got five grandchild
ren and their parents, and we always invited someone else. Turkey, naturally, was

 my favorite. We always had a big turkey. They made punch, cranberry sauce...the works. For dessert, my wife used to make a chocolate chiffon cream pie. Everybody liked that, especially the grandkids. My wife and I, we always walked and talked. We loved to walk. We went to Niagara Falls on the 28th of December one year. They all said you’re crazy, but it was

-Tom Durkin, Air Force Combat Pilot Veteran

“I grew up in Kentucky, and I never saw anybody selling Christmas trees. We all went out and got our own. They weren’t the prettiest in the world, but we always had our own tree that my

 father hacked down from the woods. Now, today, people don’t do that. People come and sell you one.”

“I had seven children and my mother made each one a Christmas stocking. She made beautiful stockings and it was such fun to see them hanging by the fireplace—all seven of them. My daughter, Becky, her favorite thing to do was to go through the Sears catalog. That was a Christmas catalog for her.”

 “We lived in Kansas for a while and we had a really deep snow in Kansas. We had about eight feet of snow and one of my children lost their contact lens in the snow. We were trying,

but we never found it, of course.”
“When I was growing up, we never made fruit cake, but my mother made pies and she’d make jam cake. When [my own family] moved to Colorado I lost my recipe, so I called
the radio station and I said, ‘I’m from Kentucky and I want a Kentucky recipe for jam cake, and someone called it in!”
-Sue Kimball, English professor

With the coming of fall, that was just an exciting time. You had so much to look forward to. First

 we have Thanksgiving and that created excitement, but then Christmas was a most exciting time. I was in a big family and my siblings and I became so excited with the coming of Christmas. We lived on a farm near Shelby, North Carolina, and there were cedar trees all over so my brother and I had the duty to go find aChristmas tree, cut it down and bring it home. The smell of a live Christmas tree still brings memories. And my mother did a lot of baking at Christmastime. She baked fruit cake that had everything in it and she made a fresh coconut cake that was wonderful. And the smells of baking filling the house...I still get

misty when I think about it.”
-Bill Wright, Reporter at The Fayetteville Observer for 35 years

 Thanksgiving is our wedding anniversary, so there is no way to forget or not celebrate it. This will be our 63rd year. We got married in my mother’s living room the day before Thanksgiving and our thought was we were going to Fontana Dam on our honeymoon. We were in Goldsboro, North Carolina, with no snow tires and no chains and we forgot the mountains didn’t have a lot of restaurants. There were no open restaurants. We did get to Asheville finally and spent the night and got up the next morning. I found out things I didn’t know about my husband before. His curiosity. We passed a trashcan and a skunk was trying to get out and I said, ‘No, no, no, no! Don’t go near,’ otherwise I was going to have to spend my honeymoon with my husband smelling like a skunk.”

“This is the Father Christmas. I was a miniature collector and I got this from a lady in my
miniature club. This is mink from a stole and these are her chains we used to decorate

 his cloak. Now that I’m living [at The Carolina Inn], I put it outside my door, but at home I put him on my foyer table.”

-Peggy Smith, Wife & mother
for 63 years