It is that time of year when our personal calendars fill up with numerous family and community events, compting for our time. Lexington has been showing that community Christmas spirit with holiday decorations around town, school music programs, Christmas plays, the Giving Tree, and support of the Food Bank. News items from the past show us there was a pattern of Christmas events bringing people together here over the years:
Since Mother Nature has given our area such good weather lately, the local farmers are busy harvesting the fields, clearing them out in just no time at all, it seems. We know this has been a farming community for many years, including planting and harvesting traditional crops of corn, beans, oats and some wheat, but in the fall of 1943, there was excitement about a brand new crop to be harvested in this area for the very first time - hemp.
It can be an interesting and somewhat humbling experience to reflect on how this city of ours got started years ago. Who were those tenacious citizens who first established businesses and homes and raised families here? Just what were their lives like, we have to wonder? In early December of 1925, a Bloomington newspaper headline announced that the 'First Child Born in Lexington' had been summoned by death, following a brief illness. The article relayed the story of one of Lexington's prominent citizens, Mrs. Emily Shade, who passed away on December 14 at the age of 87 after being born here in 1838 and living here her entire life.
November is one of those months when Mother Nature can play tricks on us, having crisp sunny weather followed a short time later by cold rains and a mini-blizzard, thus upsetting a lot of travel plans. It has happened before, as in November of 1911, when we are told that temperatures during a windy storm dropped over sixty degrees in one day, seriously effecting many communities in the central Illinois area. The following report about that storm appeared in the November 13 issue of the Daily Pantagraph:
Most everyone is bustling around now making plans and preparations for some kind of Thanksgiving celebration with family and friends. We are all familiar with the story of what Americans generally call the 'First Thanksgiving', celebrated by the Pilgrims after their first harvest in the New World in October 1621.
Much information has been printed recently about the 100-year anniversary this year of the end of WWI in Europe, but all those soldiers were not able to return home immediately for Thanksgiving, as the offical treaty was not signed signed until over a year later. One worried McLean County mother received a letter in December, 1918 from her son who remained aboard a military ship; he assured his family that he was well and had plenty to eat on Thanksgiving Day.
We are approaching a day that has been set aside to honor veterans who served this country in some branch of the military. Not all of these soldiers would be remembered in later years as heroes who made headlines, but each were involved in some way in a heroic effort to protect this country. Years ago, a long-term resident of Lexington, Mr. D. F. Trimmer, who was a dedicated history buff, submitted to the Daily Pantagraph numerous articles about Lexington activities and people he admired.
A few years ago, I happened to be with a grandson who was excitedly telling me about his new costume for Halloween that year, when he asked me if we had Halloween 'way back' when I was in school. I assured him we had, but that made me think of how differently we had celebrated it - with very few manufactured costumes, popcorn ball treats, and a plan to canvas the entire town, with a friend, not our parents. Doing a little research, I found a few mentions of Lexington events from 'way back', as reported in the Daily Pantagraph:
A big news item lately has been the closing of many Sears stores, thus marking a long history of sales of merchandise, including a little of everything at one time, even tombstones and kit homes which could be shipped to the buyer by railroad. The Lexington community has had a number of businesses with a long history; one of these was Lindsay's Store which was featured in this Daily Pantagraph article in June of 1946:
During the last few weeks, a lot of hustle and bustle went on in local households, as young people prepared for the homecoming activities here in Lexington. Finding just the right clothing was a necessity for girls and boys alike, and there was much effort put into preparing floats for the parade, without a doubt. Excitement was definitely in the air during the preparation.