A Look Back: Snow, Santa are two sure things in December

  • Since the first of November, Mrs. Edward McDermott has been preparing has been preparing fudge for holiday gifts and although her husband give her an occasional assist, his sweet tooth has a habit of getting in the way of progress on Dec. 19, 1969. Nevertheless, Mrs. McDermott, an employee of Mary Hitchcock Memorial Hospital, has prepared 100 boxes of fudge and hard candy for the County Farm in Woodsville and 40 boxes for patients at the Veterans Hospital in White River Junction. The holiday chore has been an annual affair now for the past six years and is something "I enjoy doing," said Mrs. McDermott. (Valley News -Larry McDonald) Copyright Valley News. May not be reprinted or used online without permission. Send requests to permission@vnews.com.

  • Santa found a little girl willing to talk about dolls 'n stuff when he made a surprise visit to Head Start in Lebanon, N.H., on Dec. 17, 1969. The kids' Christmas party was held later, and one of the best presents for Head Start would be volunteer workers, who are "desparately needed," according to administrators. (Valley News - Larry McDonald) Copyright Valley News. May not be reprinted or used online without permission. Send requests to permission@vnews.com.

  • Busy bees from the West Lebanon (N.H.) Cub Scout Pack 34 wrap handkerchiefs on Dec. 15, 1969, as gifts for patients in the nursing unit of the Grafton County Home in North Haverhill, N.H. The holiday project kept some 45 boys busy for the past two weeks, and will bring some Christmas joy to many elderly residents of the home. (Valley News - Larry McDonald) Copyright Valley News. May not be reprinted or used online without permission. Send requests to permission@vnews.com.

  • Take the hint and "don't walk" too far. The going will be rough for a few days to come -- even if there's no more snow after the several feet that fell in West Lebanon, N.H., on Dec. 28, 1969. (Valley News - Larry McDonald) Copyright Valley News. May not be reprinted or used online without permission. Send requests to permission@vnews.com.

  • The Reverend Robert F. Joyce, Bishop of the Arch Diocese of Burlington, made his annual trek to the Veterans Hospital in White River Junction, Vt., on Dec. 16, 1969, to give the Christmas mass for the hospital patients and staff. Prior to the mass, given in English, the Bishop made rounds of wards to chat with patients of all faiths. (Valley News - Larry McDonald) Copyright Valley News. May not be reprinted or used online without permission. Send requests to permission@vnews.com.

  • Mrs. Arthur St. Martin tries her hand at taking blood pressure with a practice dummy at the Mary Hitchcock Memorial Hospital School of Nursing in Hanover, N.H., on Dec. 19, 1969. St. Martin has a husband, three teenaged boys and is a first-year student at the nursing school. (Valley News - Larry McDonald) Copyright Valley News. May not be reprinted or used online without permission. Send requests to permission@vnews.com.

  • Alfonso J. Guarino is congratulated by onlookers who saw him sworn in as the Hartford Police Chief in White River Junction, Vt., on Dec. 16, 1969. (Valley News - Larry McDonald) Copyright Valley News. May not be reprinted or used online without permission. Send requests to permission@vnews.com.

Valley News Staff Writer
Published: 12/1/2019 9:41:07 PM

WEST LEBANON — The end of the 1960s were a turbulent time in the United States, as the weeks leading up to the Christmas holidays in December 1969 attested.

With the war in Vietnam going badly, abroad and at home, the U.S. government changed its military draft procedure to a lottery system.

Peter, Paul and Mary’s version of John Denver’s Leaving on a Jet Plane became a number one single and one of the protest songs of the Vietnam War.

And the Rolling Stones held a concert at the Altamont speedway in California, where yet more deadly violence marred the image of the peace-loving decade.

In the Upper Valley, much of life proceeded as it often did, though perhaps a bit snowier than usual.

A late December storm dropped as much as 4 feet of snow on parts of Vermont, with the snowfall in Burlington for the month reaching 50 inches. And the Vermont governor, visiting family in Framingham, Mass., was snowbound there for two days.

But the Valley News also chronicled holiday rituals that endure. Cub Scouts in West Lebanon undertook a service project, wrapping handkerchiefs to give as presents to residents at the Grafton County Nursing Home.

A worker at Mary Hitchcock Memorial Hospital spent her spare time shooing her husband out of the kitchen and making dozens of boxes of fudge and hard candy to be given to inmates at the County Farm and to patients at the Veterans Administration hospital in White River Junction.

And a local Santa Claus paid a visit to children in the Lebanon Head Start program, where administrators said volunteers were “desperately needed.”

There’s always a need. And in the Valley, almost always a good-hearted person to meet it.




Valley News

24 Interchange Drive
West Lebanon, NH 03784
603-298-8711

 

© 2019 Valley News
Terms & Conditions - Privacy Policy