Ken and Janice Tate

Dear Friends of the Good Old Days,

"Only five," I tell people who ask how many kids were in my family. Nowadays, folks raise an eyebrow when I say "only," but compared to my friends' families in the 1960s and early 1970s, ours was the smallest clan!

Having a good measure of siblings meant having a good measure of sibling rivalry and general chaos in the household at all hours of the day and night. But it also meant never being without playmates, always having clothes (and a car) to borrow, and never lacking in conversation.

And there were lessons to be learned in a big family. We learned to share, wait our turn, make do and get along. We got accustomed to a tight budget, we all pitched in when there was work to be done, and we learned to accommodate one another when riding in a vehicle that was not really meant to hold seven.

One of the best things about being part of a big family was the heady hullabaloo of Christmas mornings. Santa did not go to the trouble of wrapping gifts for all of us. Instead, the gifts were simply stacked in individual piles with our names on top. That way, when we came rambling down the steps, we could instantly see the gifts we received and we had no reason to hesitate -- we could dive right in and enjoy what we always deemed a massive and miraculous windfall.

In reality, our parents usually had to "wheel and deal" to procure most of the modest presents we discovered under the tree, but our Christmas joy was never diminished by clearance tags or off-season finds.

We felt like the luckiest kids on earth. And so did many of the writers who contributed stories to this holiday issue. When they share their tales of life in a big family, or the music lessons that shaped their childhood, or those boisterous holiday gatherings and meager but meaningful Christmas mornings that are forever etched in their memories, they reflect the joy that is so ingrained in our Good Old Days. I hope you feel that same joy.

Mary Beth Weisenburger signature
Mary Beth Weisenburger, Editor

PS. Did you know that Good Old Days magazine also has a Good Old Days email newsletter? It's free and chock-full of stories, trivia, history and more Antiques Q&A. Sign up today by going to

Mary Beth Weisenburger has been with Annie's since April 2011. She has 25 years of experience in the marketing, advertising and publishing fields. In addition to her job as editor of Good Old Days, she has been writing a family humor column for over a decade. She and her husband, two college-age kids, two dogs and various other critters live on five acres in the country, where she enjoys reading on the back porch, refinishing furniture, feeding the birds and digging in the dirt of her perennial gardens.

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Good Old Days magazine is the magazine that remembers the best of times. Feature stories and photos of the good old days of 1930 through 1960 are all contributed by readers. This easy-to-read collection of memories will fascinate the young and the old alike.
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