It's the emotional story of a care package... 51 years late. Van Ashley of Littlefield says, "He sent all the boys a shirt, a pair of jeans, a pair of socks and a pair of shoes. The shirt I think was $3.29." $3.29 was the price at Penney's in 1953.
Just a couple weeks ago Van found out he had some antique presents waiting for him. They were discovered by a local bank teller. Van says, "She said 'Each set of clothes has a note and some names; Alfonzo Ashley, Thomas Ashley. I said 'Wait a minute those are my brothers."
All that time, the Ashley's presents were sitting in an abandoned law office, buried behind decades of old financial records. Charla Chronister says, "We were up there looking for a sign we were going to put in an antique mall here in town and my husband came and said 'I found this box full of Christmas presents."
Charla and her husband own the entire building that house their business D & C Ceramics. It was formerly the law offices of Billy Hall. Back in 1953, Van Ashley's parents had divorced, his dad lived Fresno, California and, for an unknown reason, his new wife sent the presents in care of attorney Hall. Van speculates, "He was so busy, maybe he just pushed to the side and forgot about it." Unfortunate since times were tough for Van and his family back then, and also unfortunate for emotional reasons. Van remembers, "My dad, I always felt he wasn't there for me and you get this and realize oh yeah, he was thinking about us."
Van called to thank his dad for the delayed presents, and he thanks Charla and Chronister for her kindness. He says "She could have just taken that stuff and kicked it to the side and we still wouldn't have it. I can't thank her enough." Charla says, "We were so happy to give the presents to them, and they could know their daddy did send something that year for Christmas." Van adds a little comic relief saying "If we'd have gotten those clothes back in 1953, we'd have been the sharpest looking little black kids in the community!"
|2005 Live Community Coverage Tour|