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Genre: Historical Fiction
Word Count: 100
BLUE, BLUE CHRISTMAS
Snowflakes tickled my nose as I stared in awe at the bright lights outlining each building. The myriad of color delighted my eight-year-old eyes. I shivered and hugged my new Cabbage Patch doll. 1985. Best Christmas ever.
Nana squeezed my hand. “I was your age in 1927. Santa brought me a Patsy doll. Call me crazy, but I remember the Country Club Plaza lights being blue that year.”
“All of ‘em?”
“Every single one.”
I’ve since scoured the internet and can’t find anything to corroborate Nana’s story. But if my grandmother said it, it’s the unvarnished truth. Blue and simple.
Thanks to my friend Lori Wilson, a former freelance writer for The Kansas City Star Magazine, who shared this great historical tidbit with me and gave me permission to pass it along to with you. 😀
Verification appeared in print prior to Google-ing days:
Star Magazine, The Kansas City Star, December 8, 1991
Q. We are three very old ladies. Years ago, the Plaza Christmas lights were all in blue, but no one seems to know what we are talking about. Can you tell us what year that was?
The blue lights weren’t a figment of your imaginations. They are a very real memory from 1927, according to records kept by Broadway Electrical Construction Inc., which oversees the Plaza lights project.
The lights have been experimented with over the years, says Jerry Root, president of the electrical company. Although he wasn’t there in 1927, Root says that the lights were all blue for only one year because the bulbs couldn’t be seen during daylight to change the burned-out ones.
The Plaza Christmas light project began in 1925, when the late Charles S. Pitrat, head of maintenance for the J.C. Nichols Co., strung colored lights on what is now the Mill Creek Building, across from the J.C. Nichols Fountain. The only interruptions in this annual event have been during World War II and for two weeks in 1973 for energy conservation.
Q. is written by free-lance writer Lori Wilson. Is there something in Kansas City you’ve always wondered about? Ask Q…
Here’s a taste of the Country Club Plaza in Kansas City, Missouri. Enjoy! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iIrH41qVnIU