Cleveland Christmas Memories by Gail Ghetia Bellamy

Cleveland Christmas Memories: Looking Back at Holidays PastFinished 12-4-12, rating 4/5, 120 pages, pub. 2012

To be born in the ’50’s and raised in the ’60’s in a middle-class family meant that nothing much happened.

It is difficult to describe the simplicity  of those years to the current generation.  It is the scarcity of material possessions, the absence of media and ubiquitous electronic communication devices that make my generation’s Christmas memories so unique.

My memories, I am sure, are almost exactly like those of all the children of my era-those of us fortunate enough to have parents who took the time to carry out all the relatively new traditions of an American Christmas.

(from the entry by Diane Vogel Ferri in Christmas, Cleveland-Style)

Native Clevelander, Gail Ghetia Bellamy, collected hundreds of stories from those who lived in Cleveland from the 1940’s on and put them together in this great book.  It’s a glossy oversized paperback that feels like a scrapbook of Cleveland in the 1950’s and 60’s.  Along with the hundreds of stories from the people who lived and worked here there are over 200 photos that add to the eye-catching layouts.  If you know of a Clevelander from that era or even a little later this is an easy gift choice.  It will sit out and be looked at all year round.

As a somewhat new Clevelander, we moved here in 2000, I thought it was a fun look back at the days when downtown was THE place to be at Christmas, with its huge department stores and window displays.  Our new casino is housed in the old Higbee department store so it was fun to see the pictures of a different time.  My favorite section was the one about food.  It really highlighted the diverse Cleveland population.  (Something I think Les Robert’s mystery series does very well too :))

A great addition to any Cleveland library (home or public), a perfect gift for anyone who grew up here or who has an interest in Cleveland history.

I want to thank Jane from Gray & Company for sending me a copy.