Christmas in the Time of the Plague

I know what you’re thinking, or at least what you’ll be thinking in a few minutes: You’ll be thinking that I made this up, or that I’ve watched too many sappy holiday movies. No. The story, so far as I have been able to verify what seem to be absolutely legitimate sources, is true.

James Albert Anderson (“Jim”; 1874-1926) married Martha Sophia Heiner (“Sophia”; 1884-1978) in the Salt Lake Temple in 1907. They settled in Morgan, Morgan County, Utah (that’s northern Utah, in the general neighborhood of Ogden). Morgan was, and is, a small community, but one that provided great economic opportunity for Jim. He was a successful businessman in coal mine management, among other enterprises which included either a cannery or the wholesaling of canned goods; he was the ward’s bishop, and represented the community in state politics at various times, and served on community boards of all types. Sophia was a gracious hostess, a Relief Society worker, and a woman who waited patiently for children that never came.

Well, in one sense, children did come. The Andersons built a large home, beautifully landscaped, with a grass tennis court at its side. Their large basement was finished elegantly with a maple floor and stage curtains. Children and youths flocked to the home, using the basement as a gymnasium by day and as a theater or ballroom in the evening. Great crowds of them came on Christmas Day for the treats and gifts that the Andersons dealt out liberally – after the Andersons had spent Christmas Eve day every year delivering gift boxes to widows and others throughout the valley.

Read the rest of this story at keepapitchinin.org
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