100 Years Ago: 1923

All gates of the Whitehouse grounds will be thrown open tonight while Christmas carols are sung at the north entrance of the executive mansion.

Mrs. Coolidge, wife of the President, was the moving spirit in having the old custom revived and, at her invitation, the public will take part in the celebration.

The vested choir of the First Congregational Church, where the President and Mrs. Coolidge worship, will lead the singing. Musicians from the Marine Band will assist.

50 Years Ago: 1973

Christmas is going to be a little less visible at the hospitals, but the spirit is still there.


Robert Caoette, director of St. Mary’s General Hospital, said that the usual decorations would be up and a Christmas Creche will be put up on top of the Emergency Room entrance.

At Central Maine General Hospital “decorations will be all,” said Mrs. Thomas Kerrigan, formerly in charge of decorating at the hospital. She explained that due to fire hazard restrictions, live and plastic greeneries are against the law.

Janet Russell of CMG said that several caroling groups had come to the hospital and more are scheduled, including Girl Scout troops, sororities  and Senior Citizen groups.

On Christmas Day, Santa will naturally visit the pediatric sections.

25 Years Ago: 1998

Though she is just seven years old and doesn’t know much about kids in West Africa, Angela Knox said she knows that she has lots of toys some kids don’t have.


So when her teacher, Janet Daigle asked her what she’d like to send in a schoolwide gift drive, she said she thought and thought and thought. Then she decided. She sent a plastic egg with glow-in-the dark silly putty. The putty joined the gifts of several of her friends in the second grade. They sent a jump rope, a blue notebook, crayons, a teddy bear, a beanie bear, in the shape of a dinosaur. “They don’t have lots of stuff like we do,” said Knox.

The Peru Elementary School students created gift boxes, nine in all to be sent to the village of Kabaya.

School nurse Coleen Swanson came up with the idea after she was visited by a friend, a nurse who had helped create a clinic over there. It was built in the past three months.

Some classes are sending shampoos and bandaids and other health and hygiene products.

“The need over there is real. The average annual income is just $300,” Swanson said.

But while she said she believes the little gifts will help the folks there, the reason for the gift-giving was mostly to help the children here understand that some people have less than they do. Swanson said.

The material used in Looking Back is produced exactly as it originally appeared although misspellings and errors may be corrected.

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