By Kelsie Hoitomt
GLENWOOD CITY — Loran Standaert is a true Glenwood City-ite with his roots starting here 88 years ago when he was born to Leo and Marie in 1926.
Loran was the second born of five children and they were all raised on the 80 acre farm a few miles north west of town.
The Christmas season was celebrated with church at St. John’s Catholic Church on Christmas Eve and then Christmas Day was family time and a meal.
There wasn’t a big ordeal over presents then as Loran only ever remembers receiving a paper bag filled with some candy and nuts.
Except for one year, his aunt who worked in the cities, brought him a Yankee Clipper sled.
There was never a Christmas tree in the Standaert household either all those years Loran lived there, but they did string some popcorn for a decoration.
At school, he was involved in Christmas programs every year where they sang some songs for the parents and Santa Claus would be there.
The Standaerts didn’t own a car until 1935 so they did not travel much during the holidays unless it was to church or for necessities in town and that was by horse and cutter.
There was only so much room in that so usually his mom stayed home with the youngest kids and dad took the rest.
They stayed home on Christmas and shared the time together as a family, which is a tradition that has carried through to today in the Standaert family.
In their home, the Christmas meal wasn’t anything special or extravagant. Marie baked a lot of bread, some she even deep fried as a special treat.
When Loran was 18 years old, he was drafted into the service. He was on an island about 625 miles south east of Japan when the atomic bomb was dropped.
After the bomb dropped, they were given the option of going home for a month while troops were assembled. It was in that time that Loran married Delores Delage, a young woman from Cylon on October 2, 1945.
Loran and Delores had been courting each other for about two years prior to that. Loran laughed as he shared that in those days everyone was practically related to him so when a girl like her moved to town, he had to scoop her up quick.
He spent two days with her after their wedding and then left to go back to the war for 14 long months.
When he returned, he bought a farm of his own outside of town just two miles from where he was born.
They lived on that farm for 40 years and then moved into Glenwood City, which is where they have been for over 30 years now.
In 1949, they had their first of six children. Kathy was the first then Michael, Margaret, Karen, Barbara and Allen.
In their own home with their own children, Loran and Delores celebrated Christmas with a big dinner, which centered around a ham.
Church was also a big part of what they did as a family. They typically attended Midnight Mass, since it was easier than getting up and going in the morning with all the chores that needed to be done.
One thing that was included in their home for the children to enjoy was a Christmas tree. Plenty of times they just went out back and cut one themselves.
And under that tree were the presents. Loran and Delores would make the children wait in their bedrooms on Christmas morning until they came in from the barn, a little pleasure came from seeing them squirm as they tried so hard to contain their excitement.
The girls received dolls for Christmas, it was little things like that since they didn’t have much as a family due to the farm just getting on its’ feet.
Delores often sewed the doll clothes herself for both regular dolls and Barbie dolls. She also made the children their own special shiny, pinkish-red bulb that had their name on it in silver glitter.
During the holiday, Santa would also make a special trip to town. Loran and Delores would bring the children to see him, which was either at the old Theater or out front of the bowling alley.
At that time and through the late 80’s, Loran farmed about 500 acres with hay, corn and oats, which was fed back to the dairy cattle.
Loran said that he never left the farm from 1949 until the late 70’s. It was then that he and Delores finally took their first vacation, which was trip to Las Vegas in the fall.
As the years went by and the kids grew up and moved out, Christmas didn’t actually change much in the Standaert family.
Every year the children and their children go back home to celebrate along side Loran and Delores with a big gathering centered around a traditional meal that the women in the family cook.
There are 12 grandchildren and six great-grandchildren added into the mix as well, which takes up quite a bit of space.
Loran said that in the past they have gotten together at the community center since that is big enough to fit everyone.
And this year, since Delores is in Glenhaven, the family has reserved a room at Havenwood that is big enough to fit everyone. This way they can still keep the tradition of being together as a family going.
To Loran, Christmas has not changed much. Everyone still gets together, there’s presents and a meal and that is what the essence of Christmas has been to them.