SOLS: 2013:20 Childhood In a Museum


Time: 1960s

Place: Indianapolis, Indiana

Jolly white-bearded man in a red velvet suit and black boots holds two wide-eyed children on his lap as they lean and whisper their Christmas lists to his ear.  A photograph is snapped of the captured moment that is later taken home and placed on the mantle.

Traveling to downtown Indianapolis was a holiday tradition that my brother and I looked forward to each December. Dressed in our best clothes we would travel and enjoy the magical atmosphere of the city. On Monument Circle brightly colored lights climbed from the bottom of the Soldiers and Sailors Monument to the very top resembling a Christmas Tree.  After locating a parking space we would visit the L.S. Ayres department store that was distinguished by a outdoor clock. After Thanksgiving a bronze cherub would adorn L.S. Clockthe clock and look down on shoppers during the holiday season. People would crowd around the windows to watch the animated Christmas story windows that looked very much like a scene from a Norman Rockwell painting. You would then hop onto the elevator to the eighth floor “Winter Wonderland”. As a child you could easily imagined you were at the North Pole. Santa’s Christmas elves were eager to help children climb aboard the Santa Express train. The Santa Express would click clack around and round the track through snowy scenery until you arrived at…Santa’s residence. “Ho-ho-ho! What would you like Santa to bring you?” Santa would ask as you balanced on his knee (depending on your age). With great excitement you would go through your list and at completion a candy cane was placed in your hand. After having your photograph snapped it was a special treat to eat at the L.S. Tea Room. If you were on your best behavior, after eating, you could select a prize from the treasure box. A little shopping and then homeward bound with visions of sugarplums dancing in your head.

Imagine being able to visit your childhood memory…in a historic museum! You can experience the L.S. Tea Room, the Santa Express, the animated story windows, and a visit with Santa at the Indiana State Museum. Not sure how I feel about my childhood being in a museum ALREADY! You can even buy the L.S. Ayres cherub as an ornament for your Christmas tree…which I did.



Gail Gibbons

Gail Gibbons

This entry was posted in Christmas, Family, Gail Gibbons, Indiana, L.S. Ayres, Uncategorized and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

5 Responses to SOLS: 2013:20 Childhood In a Museum

  1. Cathy says:

    I love your details…makes me imagine that I truly was there. Thanks for whisking me away!

  2. Shelley K says:

    Yes, what beautiful details! What great imagery!

  3. gillis says:

    I feel,your pain- great post!

  4. Tam says:

    Reminds me of Chicago and Marshall Fields as a child. I never did get to eat in the Tea Room. I like the idea to have the little boy cherub ornament to buy as a memento. Every time I visit an antique store, I feel older. I sure don’t want to buy any of those items again! I’m sure your family will enjoy this post of your childhood Christmases.

  5. Your post made me smile. I gave my 2 year-old my Cabbage Patch Kids (from ~30 yrs ago) tonight. Now that made me feel old!

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