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Picturing the Past 40: Christmas at Dr. Rogers'Posted Thursday, December 24, 2009, at 7:12 AM
A Nativity scene at Dr. Carl Rogers' Skyview Terrace home from Dec. 19, 1952. (T-G file photo)
The winter sky was lit up by a massive number of lights -- and headlights from the cars streaming by his home.
Here's a daytime shot of a Nativity scene in front of the Rogers home from Dec. 19, 1952 -- and from T-G accounts, this may have been the first year of his display.
Dr. Rogers told the Times-Gazette that the lifesize plywood figures took six weeks to construct, with help from his wife. She said she had "some experience" with painting the figures while it was his "first try."
Viewers could roll down a window and hear a recorded reading of the second chapter of Luke from the Bible by the Rev. Paul Lanius of First Methodist Church.
The lights and recording were on from 5:30 to 10 p.m. daily, according to the story.
Dr. Rogers reduced his display in his older years. But many years after the displays had ended, the Rogers family brought out everything again one final year for an encore -- as I recall, it was in the late 1990s. The old displays were faded and worn but still did their jobs well.
I imagine many readers remember Dr. Rogers' and others' Christmas lights and decorations from years back.
A few people still put on elaborate displays today as well across Bedford County. The tradition lives on.
A Sunday T-G in the 1950s: I was surprised to see the story about Dr. Rogers in the Sunday -- that's right, Sunday -- Times-Gazette from Dec. 21, 1952.
We thought the first Sunday editions of the T-G began just a few years ago. But in the early 1950s the T-G published one Sunday edition each year, shortly before Christmas, with all proceeds going to the American Legion.
Picturing the Past is featured each Tuesday in this blog. Reader contributions are welcome.
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David Melson is a copy editor and staff writer for the Times-Gazette.
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