It was a thick cotton string. Well worn and looked as if passed down from generation to generation. It had one purpose only. To connect from corner to opposite corner up above in our little East L A living room. The string was taken out of the Christmas paraphernalia box each year to hang across the living room ceiling to hang Christmas cards over like fresh washed laundry. Cards from as far away as Wilson Oklahoma, Portland Oregon, Bakersfield California, and nearby Long Beach California. Cards depicting scenes like little houses in a field of snow with wafting smoke from the chimney. Cards with either three wise men silhouetted on camels by a bright evening star or a baby lying in a manger amongst mother Mary and his father Joseph. Some cards were hand signed or a few were printed with the family names. My favorite cards showed a snow covered home with sled and reindeer atop the roof with Santa with bag of toys stepping down into the chimney.
But I will have to admit me being about eight-years old couldn’t easily read the names on the inside of each card. Just too high above for me to read.
So, my next best thing to do was to grab the Sears Roebuck Christmas Catalogue and find the pages showing all the electric train sets. Just wishing and hoping I might get a train set for Christmas. It worked. Christmas of 1952 Santa brought me a set with oval track, an engine with coal car, boxcar, cattlecar, flatcar, and caboose, and an electric transformer. It was all set up under the Christmas tree that morning and it was a big Christmas surprise. Merry Christmas!