Miracle of Christmas Pearls

Miracle of Christmas Pearls

It was 1949, I was 13 and the prospects for a Christmas that was anywhere near "merry" were grim. There simply was no money. None.

We had a bumper potato harvest that year, and the barn and the cellar beneath our house overflowed with the 'fruit of the earth.' The difficulty was, no one wanted to buy them, at any price.

Throughout the fall, my father had made repeated trips to the offices of the potato broker in the nearby town, but there was simply no market. It seemed that ours was not the only area, or ours the only country, to have a plentiful potato crop that year.

This was of particular concern to me for a number of reasons. First of all, on paper I had earned more than $40 helping to harvest our spuds, and I had planned to blow a goodly portion of my fortune on Christmas gifts for my mother and grandmother.

I had accordingly poured anxiously over Eaton's mail-order catalogue, and eventually selected for them identical strings of what were described as "genuine pearls." I sent off my order, cash-on-delivery, to Eaton's fabulous emporium (as I imagined it to be) in Moncton, already anticipating the warm glow that would suffuse my being when exclamations of pleasure greeted my beneficence on Christmas morning.

But now there was no money to pay for the order.

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