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Edna Ierley-Byrne
(973) 593-3094
(973) 593-3095
(973) 593-4945
Madison Civic Center
28 Walnut Street
Madison, NJ 07940 (map)

LOOKING BACK COLUMN

LETTERS TO SANTA

   Madison had its very first community Christmas tree 100 years ago in December of 1914. Rev. Edwin A. McAlpin, Jr. of the Presbyterian Church offered the live pine that stood on the grounds of Webb Memorial Chapel while the borough furnished free electricity to light the tree, residents were invited to help with decorations. Santa was also on hand and reminded the children to write letters to him. The following year the Madison Eagle printed "Letters to Santa" collected from the Madison schools in 1915.
From Madison Academy:
   "Dear Santa - My mother takes out the stove pipe and polishes the stove for you to come on Christmas eve. We all go to bed early because mother says you never visit homes where children stay up late. Please bring me a bracelet and a gold ring." Marie Tracey, age 9
   "Dear Santa- Christmas will soon be here. I want you to bring me a gun and I hope you will visit the children of Europe and bring them some clothes. Your friend Martin Jennings." age 9
(note: Martin Jennings became Chief of Police in Madison 1956-1968)
From St. Vincent's School:
   "Dear Santa Claus - As it is near Christmas I thought I would tell you what I want. I would like to have you bring me a toy horse, and an express wagon and some candy. These are only a few things I want. As you must know I am only seven years old. When I grow bigger I will want more. I must close my letter now, as I think it is getting quite long. Yours truly, Albert Heffner."
   "Dear Santa Claus - Just a line to let you know I am still living at 49 Elm St. I hope you are well. Now my dear Santa, I would like very much to get a nice present this Christmas, but I think there are many poor little boys and girls over in Europe who have lost their fathers and mothers in the war and I would rather you go over there and give them some nice toys and good things to eat. You can go over with Mister Henry Ford on his ship and help him tp stop the fighting. Yours truly, Joseph A. Ryan" age 7
From Madison Public School:
   "Dear Santa Claus - Will you get me a bicycle for a present, and get little brother an engine for his present and Lillian a bicycle. Will you please get me a key to my roller skates. I have been wanting it for a long time. Bring mother a nice book. Daddy wants to ahve a nice present from you. I don't know what he wants. Yours in love, Kathryn A. Merikle." age 8
   "Dear Santa Claus - Last Christmas I wrote a letter, which I threw in the stove, so that the smoke that came out of the letter would tell you what I wanted. You disappointed very much. You did not bring me what I asked for. Now I ask you once again, will you please bring me a rain coat which I asked for last Christmas. Do not forget to bring it. Why didn't you come last Christmas? Was it because I was in the corner waiting to see how you come down the chimney? I did not mean to do it. Forgive me, will you dear? Did you see me there and did you see me eating a piece of pie? Oh, I wish I had never done it. Dear Santa Claus, if you did see me, this year I'm going to bed just as soon as I finish my supper. Your girl, do not forget and disappoint her. Good Bye. I'll see you next year. Lunette Lupardi."
                                                                                           Researched and written by Helene Corlett