Mixsonian Larry


The Juniors
Atlanta, Georgia

In the fall Waive, Fred’s help, cooked a full Thanksgiving dinner with turkey and all the trimmings and the family were truly thankful for what the Lord has provided to them although it was largely due to all of Fred’s hard work.   Fred did take some time Thanksgiving Day to go down to his Pryor Street Mission and check how the Thanksgiving meal was being served to the poor was going.  The meal, although not as elaborate as the one at home, did have roast turkey.    The week after Thanksgiving, on a cold winter evening, Fred announced for everyone to put on their winter coats, gloves and hats for they were going Christmas tree shopping.  With everyone bundled up and loaded into their big station wagon they drove to a nearby church that was selling Christmas trees.  Everyone got out of the car with Fred giving them instructions on what to look for in a tree of which the kids quickly forgot and proceeded off into the rows of trees. Waive looked at Fred with a big smile knowing that he was having the best of time as he watched the children go into the trees.  It didn’t take long before little Gary was the first to get his dad to look at a tree he had found, and Fred upon examining it pointed out it was too small.  Next Dixie and Carol drew Fred to the tree they had found and upon examining it saying it was too skinny.  After taking a little more time, Barbara and Sue called Fred over showing them the tree they had found, it must have been nine feet tall and six across the branches at its base.  Fred went up to the tree and reached in taking hold of the trunk and stood it more upright asking Waive what she thought.  Waive looked for a moment and said, “Turn it around to the left some.” Which Fred did asking, “How is that?” “Turn it some more.” Answered Waive with Fred then with a little annoyance in his voice, “What about now?” and Waive, pausing a moment, asked “What do you kids think?”  and they all chimed in saying they loved it.  Fred called the assistant over who cut off a few inches from the bottom and hauled it over and lashing it to the roof of the car.    

Upon arriving home Fred couldn’t manage the tree alone, so he sent the girls in to fetch Mr. Smith who rented the basement and between the two of them got the tree in the house and set up in the parlor in front of the window facing the street.  Fred frustratingly untangled the Christmas lights and wound them around the tree going from bottom to top.  While Fred was putting on the lights, Waive got out the boxes of Christmas tree ornaments of all types, colored globes, elves, Santa Clause, reindeer, hearts, wisemen, pendants and adding a few made by the children at school and the family proceeded to decorate the tree. The kids hung the ornaments at their level starting with little Gary followed by Carole, Dixie, Sue and Barbara with Waive and Fred doing the higher parts of the tree.  Foil tinsel was added and as the last step, Fred took the all-white angel out of the special box and standing on a chair, placed her at the top of the tree.   Waive had bought some candy canes and let the children hang them on the tree and then they all stood back, Waive turned off the room lights and Fred plugged in the tree and they all commented it was the most beautiful tree ever.  Over the next couple of weeks presents were added under the tree wrapped in colorful paper, ribbon and bows, with five kids and each giving the others a gift, the pile grew.  Waive had taken little Gary and the younger girls out shopping (mostly at the dime store) while Barbara and Sue took the trolley into town and did their own shopping.

Anticipation built as Christmas drew near, especially once school let out for the holiday.  On Christmas Eve they all dressed up on their Sunday cloths and went to the church where they had a live nativity seen out in front with real sheep, a real donkey and church members dressed up as Joseph, Mary, the three wisemen and a real baby for Jesus in the manger.   After seeing the nativity scene they went into the church for a special Christmas eve service of song and the telling of the Christmas story.  Afterwards they returned home where they had cookies Waive had made earlier and Fred made hot chocolate before all going to bed. Although little Gary went right to sleep, Dixie and Carole snuck down to look at the presents shaking each, trying to figure out what they were while Barbara and Sue talked late into the night in the room they shared.  Once the children were soundly asleep, Fred and Waive got out the presents they bought for the children which they had hidden for they were to be from Santa Claus and put them under the tree. Then in the light of the Christmas tree, Fred looked warmly at Waive, gave her a hug and a kiss before they went to bed.

On Christmas morning the kids were all up early and Barbara and Sue, knowing they were less likely to be scolded, sent Dixie and Carol in to get their mother and father out of bed. Soon they all gathered around the tree where Fred took one present at a time out from under the tree, read the name on the card, and hand it to the person.  At first Fred made them wait for them each to have a present in hand before opening them but after that it he was passing them out as fast as the children would open them, with some taking longer as the child had to look at or play with the present before getting the next one.   Barbara and Sue being older mostly got clothes while Dixie, Carole and Gary got many toys in addition to new clothes.  Gary wasn’t impressed with the new socks that his mother gave him but really liked the cowboy outfit and could wait to put it on and go ride his pony.  With all the presents opened, and piles of Christmas wrapping paper, bows and ribbons all around the room, Waive and Fred sat back and enjoyed watching the children try on their new clothes and play with their toys.  It was a wonderful and joyful time.


The Mixsons
Micanopy, Florida

Morris was glad to be home and settled back into farm life that summer.  Other than electric lights, nothing much else had changed.  The garden needed tending, horses and cows fed, wood to chop and split for the stove and fireplace and so on.  Wilbur and Arnold were grateful that Morris was back to help on the farm, but Rosalie was the most grateful of all for it was her strength and hard work that kept the farm going while Morris was in the Navy and Wilbur was in the hospital.

In September, having left for the Navy before his senior year of high school, Morris re-enrolled at Reddick High School to complete his senior year.  As it turned out it was also the senior year for his first cousin Jimmy Mixson was two years younger than Morris and being related and living near each other would often go to school together, usually in Morris’s car since he was older.   Morris’s good friend Billy Yawn would often hangout with Morris and Jimmy afterschool and on weekends.  Billy, who was the same age as Morris as drafted into the Army but it was after he completed high school the year Morris skipped to join the Navy.  

When Thanksgiving arrived, Wilbur, Rosalie and the boys went to Wilbur’s father’s house for dinner. There was quite a crowd when several of Wilbur’s eleven siblings and their families arrived. Each family  brought food with Rosalie cooking collard greens and potatoes fresh from their garden.  It was quite a feast, better than the last one Morris had while on ship in the Pacific and he was happy to see his aunts, uncles, and cousins who all wanted to hear about his experience in the war.

A week before Christmas, Morris went with his father into the forest and cut down a small cedar for their Christmas tree which they brought home and put in the living room opposite the fireplace so it wouldn’t catch on fire.  They decorated it with simple handmade ornaments, popcorn strung on a string and a few colorful ribbons Rosalie had from her sewing and topped the tree with a small store-bought angel.  Being their first Christmas with electricity they didn’t yet have any lights.   They placed their gifts under the tree wrapped in simple brown paper and tied with string or a piece of left-over ribbon.  It was cold on Christmas day, so Wilbur got up early and had a fire going in the fireplace, so the room was warm when Rosalie, Morris and Arnold got up.   As they sat around the fireplace, Rosalie passed out the presents to each of them which they opened.  Morris and Arnold both got new shirts and pants which Rosalie had made, Morris got a small pocketknife from his father and Arnold a new pair of shoes.  Morris gave his mother, father and brother small items he had brought back from the Pacific.  Morris missed his older brother Adrian who was still in the Merchant Marines and wasn’t able to come home.  It was a simple Christmas, but Morris was happy to be back home with family.

Updated: 02-04-2022