I know, I know… you’re wondering what that song has to do with my December memories. Well, the Pittsburgh disc jockeys really loved that song in 1961 and it seems they were constantly playing it while my friends and I stood out on a street corner selling Christmas trees for the local Kiwanis Club.
We were members of the Langley High School Key Club and we assisted the Kiwanis during several projects throughout the year.
This picture was taken while we were distributing community directories to every house in the area. The directories were free, but we solicited money for the needy families. The handsome, skinny guy standing on the far right is the person I used to be… about a hundred and forty pounds lighter.
The tree sale was held in the Elliot section of town – at the corner of Lorenz and Chartiers Avenues. I believe the owner of the Rexall Drug store (on that same corner) was a member of the Kiwanis and allowed the use of his sidewalk.
Besides trees stacked everywhere, we had a big old oil drum in which we kept a fire constantly burning. Decembers in Pittsburgh can be brutally cold and we huddled by that fire when there were no customers looking at the trees… which seemed to be a large part of the time.
As I recall, we basically covered the tree ‘lot’ in the early evening while the Kiwanis members were enjoying a nice quiet dinner with their respective families. The men would finally appear around 8:00 PM and stay around until 9:30 or 10:00. We’d usually leave shortly after they arrived.
I don’t recall how many trees we sold. Nor do I remember our prices. However, I doubt if we had a tree priced higher than $15.00. That’s a far cry from today’s prices.
Over the years, whenever I bought a real tree, I tried to purchase it from a service club. I’ve sold trees for the Roswell Lions Club and bought trees from the Forsyth County Optimists. I buy from these folks for two basic reasons. First, their prices are usually better than the private lots. Second, their profits go to good charitable causes.
Besides, being around a service club lot reminds me of the other song the Pittsburgh disc jockeys liked to play in 1961.
Perhaps it was my age… and the radio stations we listened to during that time, but I don’t recall hearing Christmas carols while we tried to stay warm. Of course, I don’t know that Jingle Bells would have warmed us any more than a song about jungle sounds.