As told by Ann Dorer
In 1988 when the preacher of a small church in Columbus, Georgia, asked the oldest member of the congregation to tell about the first Christmas she remembered, it was our grandmother Panka who responded. She was 81 years old at that time, and she regretted that her first memories did not involve the religious aspects of Christmas. But Panka, always honest, told the truth: she was most excited about Santa coming.
When Panka was a little girl, Santa brought her a small doll, about 12-inches long, with a china head topped with coal-black hair that was painted on. The doll’s arms and hands, legs and feet, were china, but its body was stuffed muslin, “kind of stiff feeling,” Panka noted. But best of all, Santa delivered a little cast-iron stove that came with appropriately sized cookware—cast iron, of course. The stove had four little “caps” that covered the open circles where the miniature skillets could be placed.