Christmas at the List Farm

Submitted by Diane Lewis

I remember just bits and pieces of stories Mom (Kitty) told me about Christmas on the farm before they moved to town (Lawshe). She told me the children put their shoes outside Christmas Eve for Santa to fill with either something nice if they had been good, or a lump of coal if they had been bad. I think they also put out some sort of treat for St. Nicolas and straw for "black Peter's" horse who rode along with St. Nick.

She told me of one Christmas eve, she must have been 13 or 14 years old, when Santa Claus came into the house and grabbed Hugh, took him outside and tied him to a tree. Next he came in, got Mark and tied him outside also. The little ones were told Santa was taking them to "goose heaven" because they had been bad. Explaination: "Gooseheaven" is where you were taken if you were bad and you spent the rest of your life picking down off geese for this is how snow was made.

Next, Santa Clause got Mom (Kitty) who still believed and carried her outside. Mom put up quite a struggle and was kicking and screaming, trying to get loose, when Santa Claus said, "Oh hell, Kitty, shut up. It's your brother Paul" and dropped her down in a big snow drift.

Mother said she believed in Santa Claus until she was about 16 years old. Her belief was shattered when she came down the stairs one Christmas Eve night and saw Granddad and Grandmother decorating the Christmas tree. Up until that time she thought that Santa brought the Christmas tree which magically appear Christmas day, decorated with balls, angel hair, tinsel, and little candles which clipped on the cedar tree branches. These candles were lit briefly on Christmas day.

Granddad List was Catholic and Grandmother was a Protestant. There was no Catholic Church in Lawshe but the older children, Cleo, Ada, Anna, Paul, Hugh, and Mother (Kitty) were all baptized in the Catholic Church in Arnheim, Ohio. The List family originally settled in Armheim, a little village in Brown County, Ohio about 25 miles from Lawshe.

On Holy Days, Granddad would take the children by train to Sardinia and from there they would ride in a sleigh to Arnheim to go to the Catholic Church to attend services. After baby David died and the family grew larger Granddad ceased doing this and no longer went to Church. This became a source of contention between Grandmother and Granddad. Grandmother went to the little Protestant Church in Lawshe and Granddad would not accompany her. Sometime near the end of Granddad's life, Adams County, where Lawshe is located, became "mission" country for the Catholic Church and the priests came to visit granddad and administered sacraments. Granddad's funeral was in the little Catholic Church in Arnheim and he is buried in a section of the Sardinia cemetery which was consecrated by the Catholic Church.