Pooch Blackson remembers his days as Santa Claus

| December 19, 2016

COSHOCTON – Playing Santa Claus meant the world to Lewis “Pooch” Blackson.

“Every Christmas I think about it,” he said. “That was a good time. Everybody loved Santa Claus.”

Blackson can’t remember exactly how many years he filled the role of Santa Claus for the community at parades and parties, but knows it must have been after Sam Drake gave up the job.

“He was a bookkeeper at the Ford garage and played Santa for years,” Blackson said. “He gave it up for a reason, maybe because of age, but I think it was someone in the chamber (who used to do the Christmas parade) asked me to become Santa.”

Blackson enjoyed his days as Santa Claus so much that he wrote down his memories of years gone by and here’s a look at what being the jolly old man in the red suit meant to him.

Days long ago, sixty two years ago.

The other evening, I attended the Miracle on Main Street celebration. Downtown Coshocton was and is truly beautiful. Thank you to all the people that made it happen. As I stood there, my mind took me back 62 years. In the 1950’s, I was privileged to be Santa Claus for the chambers’ annual Christmas parade. I recalled pulling my 7UP truck into the Ford Garage (now Chase Bank on 4th Street). I recalled Garney Banaham and Jack Rader, owners of the garage, were always there to make sure I got in. I would go to the mechanics’ wash room and put on my old red outfit. Paul Buick, salesman, always made sure my beard was straight. Gilbert Kemp (sheriff) would pull into the garage in a cruiser, load me up, and take me to Eighth Street by the Coshocton High School building where the boys from the Main St. Fire Station would help me onto the fire truck. George Bowman, Marsh Mallet, Berlin Berrett come to mind. The Coshocton High School Band would lead the parade. My recollection is that Harold LeFever was the director of this great band of young people. They always played, “Here Comes Santa Claus.” As the parade crossed Seventh St. and headed down Main St., I recalled seeing all the people from the many business places coming out onto the sidewalk to watch the parade pass by. The post office, the YMCA, Sycks Bakery, JM Henderson Grocery, DL Conkle Tire Shop (The Firestone Shop), Stower Electric, Dobby’s Tavern Rise and Stipes, Commons Athletic Club, Carton’s Shoes, Buckeye Clothing, J.J. Newberry, Robson’s Restaurant, M’ O’Neil Co, Golden’s, Hay Jewelry, Schiff’s Shoes, Hosicks, Rautwells, J.C. Pennys, Montgomery Ward, and many more.

The chamber had a sleigh parked in the courtyard with plenty of candy for the young people. One year, I recall that they got so excited about seeing Santa Claus and getting a bag of candy, the sleigh got upset with me in it. Ho-Ho-Ho. Those children would be 70 years old today.

I have many other memories of Santa. The annual GE Christmas party and dance always held at the Coshocton Armory, the Knight’s of Columbus party, Kal Hall, Sixth and Main upstairs, usually Sunday afternoon, the Trinity Episcopal Church, Seventh and Main, two beautiful girls and their Mom and Dad that I met at Trinity, Bert and Betty Miles, and the many, many homes that I was privileged to be a part of their Christmas season here in good old Coshocton.

Oh yes! And the night I got in the wrong house! Thanks for the memories! Merry Christmas to all! – Pooch.

“That was a special time,” Blackson said.

Tags: , , ,

Category: People & Places

About the Author ()

Article contributed to The Beacon.

Comments are closed.