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Cleveland Christmas Memories:
Looking Back at Holidays Past
by Gail Ghetia Bellamy

Oh no! Not another memory book! That was my first thought when I saw Cleveland Christmas Memories: Looking Back at Holidays Past.

But wait! There are many new and different memories in this book that reminded me of things I haven't thought about in years. There are pictures I haven't seen before of things I had forgotten. I forgot about such things as the wooden escalators, Mills Restaurant and riding through the dark tunnel to the terminal.

The book is big (8.5 x 11) and paperback. There are photos (color and black and white of the older images) on almost every one of the 120 pages.

The first chapter begins by telling about something we are all familiar with: The Downtown Pilgrimage. Taking the bus or rapid downtown and seeing the displays at Higbees (or May Company or Halle's) was always a treat.

I like that the author didn't just rely on her own memories. The book is full of memories and quotes from other Clevelanders. I also liked how the memories are not generic Christmas items you would see in any city of this size. They are Cleveland specific - Hough Bakery, Ralphie and the Christmas Story, Mr. Jingeling, Nela Park and more. At the end there is a look back at the toys from Chatty Cathy to Easy Bake ovens.

I loved this book and recommend it as gifts to us oldies, not-so-oldies and young wannabees. Heads up doctors, lawyers, dentists! Replace your dated old magazines with this book and the wait time will be painless. (You may even have to wait while patients and clients finish!)

This fully-loaded book is going to become part of my holiday traditions - just like my decorations. I am going to bring it down off the book shelf every year from Thanksgiving to New Year's and put it on the coffee table for family and guests to browse. It will not only provide happy memories, but will be a wonderful conversation starter as well.

Thank you Gail!

Reviewed by Pat Hanson

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