Christmas photo from 1950 continues to stir memories

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Nothing pleases a newspaper reporter more than having someone respond to a story. And when that response shows obvious pleasure — well, it’s a moment to be savored.

I wrote just a few days ago about Salisbury’s Peggy McDaniel finding a picture and article in the Good Old Days magazine. The story hit her so hard that she brought it to the Post.

“Could it be featured during the Christmas season?” she asked.

It was headlined, “A Christmas story of being in the right place at the right time,” and that ended up with a double meaning.

The story quoted Peggy, speculating that the photograph must have been taken by longtime Post photographer Johnny Suther during the 1950 Christmas parade. The story was written by Betty Diane Crow, who was then a little girl captured in that picture looking at the photographer.

Close to her was a little boy also looking at the photographer, and later, when they grew up, that boy and Diane dated and married — and that prompted her to write us about how that Christmas parade and the picture — affected their lives.

And her letter prompted a column, which prompted another response.

This time, I got a call from Carole Jo Ingram, the daughter of the Santa Claus who was central to the 1950 picture and the story.

She thought his name should have been there, too.

“His name is John D. ‘Poss’ Poole,” she wrote, “and he was a captain in the Salisbury Fire Department. He worked at the Innes Street Drug Store on the corner of Innes and Main streets and retired from the Fire Department after 30 years service.

“Of course, we were never told this until we were older,” she added, “but my brother, Phillip D. Poole (of Salisbury); sisters Bea Poole Linebarger (of Salisbury) and Rosemary Poole Mattes (of Leland) have this picture and hold it dear to our hearts, since our father is now deceased.

And it doesn’t matter that they’ve all grown up.

They still believe in Santa Claus.

And Ingram offered another tidbit of information.

“Located in the direct center of the picture, with a hat on and holding a small girl on his shoulder, is Norman Lentz, the well-known jeweler in Salisbury.”

And she and her sister wonder if others in the picture have been recognized.

I wait to hear and savor the good feelings that live on, 56 years after Johnny Suther took that picture of a Salisbury Christmas parade.


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