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Christmas Eve On Hopkins Street

Dec 05, 2014 12:17PM ● Published by City Journals Staff

Written by Heritage Center 
Program Director Maureen Gallagher

Close your eyes and sit in a comfortable chair and just for a moment pretend it’s the 1960s.

Every Christmas Eve my parents would host this wonderful open house at 698 Hopkins St. South Buffalo, New York. We would return from St. Agatha’s midnight mass and the house would begin to fill.

My dad would be found cooking ham and eggs in the kitchen. Scrumptious pastries and sweet rolls from Elrod’s Bakery would be served. Everyone was invited.

Mrs. McFeely (who lived in the upper flat for 40 years) would bring down the most delicious Christmas cookies you have ever eaten. Each year she would say, “Mrs. Gallagher, they are not very good this year.”

There was always snow on the ground and a cold chill off Lake Erie.

The Christmas music would roar and dancing would take place. My parents would always dance in the dining room. Many years, the dancers would find themselves outside the house and back again. The flow of friends would continue into the early hours.

The people in the kitchen were drinking their beers and talking about another Christmas Eve at the Gallagher’s house. Somehow, those days, those years, life seemed to beat at a slower drum. Many years the sun would be coming up, and we would just be laying our heads down.

Most of Dec. 25 was spent sleeping and taking it easy. Somehow, presents never seemed to be the focal point of the Christmas season.

I hope you are all able to just take a moment to go back to that Hopkins St. Christmas Eve.  
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