- Published on Tuesday, 26 December 2000 19:51
- Written by Aiko Hill
Pages of the Past
As I read stories about events in Los Altos during the past holiday seasons, I came across a Town Crier article that was written in 1995 which I'd like to share with you. The title of the story was " CSA volunteer turns potential downer into Christmas dinner for the homeless." It was about a volunteer who found 15 homeless people waiting outside the Los Altos United Methodist Church hoping to have their Christmas dinner. The volunteer couldn't find anything to give them at that particular moment so she called several restaurants to see if they could help. Never discouraged and several telephone calls later, she decided to get into her car and drove down El Camino Real looking for restaurants that might be open. The Hunan Hone's Chinese restaurant was the only one she found. She told the owner her story about the homeless people who will miss Christmas dinner. With his help, 15 boxes of Chinese dinner were delivered by this "miracle worker" named Mary Burkhardt.
How about 1945, when Christmas in Los Altos was designated as the first "war-free Christmas" for families here? Homes were brightly decorated and open houses continued through the week to welcome returning servicemen. Holiday decorations also adorned most of the downtown merchants' window displays and many Christmas trees were anchored around Main Street. As a holiday observance, the big oak tree that had become a favorite landmark in Los Altos, was illuminated with Christmas lights.
Back then, our servicemen did not have the pleasure of one-year tours "in-country." When they left for the war, they knew they would be gone until it was over. At any time, being home during the holidays gives one a special sense of warmth. Can you imagine returning to our little town when it was fully decked out? What a great reflection.
Finally, there's the story about the Santa's helpers who last year helped area children by working with local companies to establish "Family Giving Trees." "Wish Cards" from children were used as Christmas tree decorations, the cards were selected and sorted, presents provided in response to those cards, and then distributed to the right recipients. Thousands of little children received their "only" Christmas present thanks to those many "Santa's Helpers."
I have collected some wonderful letters from my readers since I came on board and I want to say "thank you so much." You may send special Christmas and family memories, and any suggestions, to my e-mail address and I will try to include them in my future issues.
So, as we say goodbye to this year and say hello to the real Millennium, we have a great time to reflect - not only on our own good fortune but on being surrounded by so many in our community who take the time to reach out to others.