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Memories of Christmas past - Dunwoody Crier: Our Columnists

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Past Tense Memories of Christmas past

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Posted: Tuesday, January 8, 2013 9:53 am | Updated: 9:54 am, Tue Jan 8, 2013.

Now that Christmas has passed, what memories will you cherish from the 2012 holiday season? Jane Autry and Carolyn Parker, sisters who grew up in Dunwoody, have Christmas memories going back to the 1940s. The two sisters are descendents of the pioneer Worthy and Carpenter families. Their parents were Walter Anderson and Lucy Carpenter Anderson. As members of the Dunwoody Baptist Church, located about where the new Chase Bank was recently built on Chamblee Dunwoody Road, Christmas activities centered around the church.

One annual tradition was going caroling for the elderly or others who were unable to get out to church. The Sunday before Christmas, the church would fill two or three cars with church members ready to sing for Dunwoody residents of all faiths.

The children of the church would act out the story of the nativity. Shepherds were dressed in flannel bathrobes. To prepare for the play, the children would go to the home of the church pianist, Mrs. Tom Jameson.

The song “O Holy Night” is remembered by the sisters. Mr. Steve Kirby gave out small stockings filled with candy for the children, and there was always the special treat of apples and oranges for everyone.

A live tree was cut from the Dunwoody forest and nailed to the church floor for the Christmas season. At the Anderson home at the intersection of Mount Vernon Road and Tilly Mill Road, the two girls and their brother, Ken Anderson, would go out to the woods with an ax and a saw to cut down a family Christmas tree.

Mrs. Autry remembers getting a Betsy Wetsy doll one year and roller skates another. She skated up and down Mount Vernon Road, hard to imagine these days with all the traffic. There was a bicycle one year, which the sisters shared. Santa brought Ken Anderson a new bike one year and he still owns that bike. Store bought clothes were a special treat, as most clothes for the girls were sewn by their mother and grandmother.

Another memorable and treasured gift was bath powder in glass boxes. This gift came from an uncle who lived down the road. Back then, all their family lived close by in Dunwoody.

After Christmas morning at home, the family would walk across Tilly Mill Road to visit grandparents Effie and Ambrey Carpenter. The Anderson home was at the southwest corner of Mount Vernon Road and Tilly Mill Road, where the Devinger subdivision is today. The house sat in the open area where there is now a wooden swing. Effie and Ambrey Carpenter’s home was on property at the southeast corner of Mount Vernon Road and Tilly Mill Road, where the Bradford Place subdivision is today.

Jane Autry, Carolyn Parker, and their brother Ken Anderson are making new memories these days with their families, which have grown to include children, grandchildren, and great grandchildren. As Jane put it, “these fond memories are what make Christmas so great with our families now.”

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