December 22, 2017

Readers share their favorite Christmas memories

Rabbits, possums and Sears helped family celebrate Christmas during the Depression

Peter J. Schickel

In 1933, when I was 10 years old, I had my first chance to earn my own Christmas by trapping rabbits and possums.

My father would help skin them and send the furs to the Sears and Roebuck catalog. Sears and Roebuck would buy them, and the money we received in return would go toward the clothes we’d get for Christmas.

Rabbits ran around 40 to 50 cents apiece, and possums ran around $1.50 to $2, depending upon their size. There was a demand in those days since fur clothing was popular in the trims of coats and hats.

My mother, dad, two brothers and three sisters would all help. In total, we’d usually earn between $22 to $25.

That was a lot of money in those days since it was in middle of the Depression. It would buy quite a bit of clothing for me and my family. I truly remember this as a blessing—being able to help work as a team with my family and earn my own Christmas.

My wife, Joan, and I have carried out this philosophy with our five children during our 71 years of marriage.

(Peter J. Schickel is a member of St. Mary Parish in Lanesville.) †

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