After attending the very good 2012 Christmas parade in Baldwyn recently, I pulled out an old dusty photo of another one around 1954 plus or minus a year or so. I can remember it pretty well – I know I was there because I can be seen in the photo along with Rachel Christian, my friend and neighbor at the time. We school children had been primed and ready for this parade for quite some time. We were about to see some real reindeer from the Far North! And, by all indications, they were indeed. If the photo has been printed large enough, just look at those antlers!
The Chevrolet sedan in front pulled the entire sleigh mechanism with the reindeer walking attached on each side to a single attaching pole. They had loudly ringing large bells everywhere and were really melodious. Santa rode standing in the sleigh and threw candy and laughed, but someone noticed the passenger in the front of the car had a microphone and was helping him by doing the chore of his greetings and laughs over a PA system. Santa was really busy with candy and children running to touch his hand.
This parade started near Mort and Jack Jr.’s service station on the highway and proceeded to Main and then to Front, then to Clayton Street, then west on Clayton to the Dairy Bar lot on the highway. Some of you may not recall those particular points, but today it would be the Dixie station starting and end at the former Ford car dealer building. This was a weekday – I do not remember if school was dismissed for the holidays or not, but the crowd was staggering in number. In those days anything special was well attended, especially on Saturdays.
Look around the town and notice the stores of the day; McElroy’s grocery on the west, then the GE store, Arnold Dry goods, Western Auto, McGee’s grocery, and the Bank on the end. Also notice the absence of the Tom’s Drug Store sign, which is still very much in prominence even today. I think it had to be refurbished once and maybe that is the reason it’s not in this photo.
The following photowas taken by me of the parade on Clayton Street in front of the power and water compnaies. If you look close, you can find Ellis Christian holding up Dean Rutherford so he can see. This was probably the largest attraction I ever witnessed in Baldwyn for a long time.