Christmas Past

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The twins Loretta and Lorena Rinker were six months old in 1903 when this photograph of them was taken before the family Christmas tree. Loretta is at left. Their home was in Toledo, Ohio, where their father settled on his arrival from Germany. Loretta remembers that they lighted the candles on Christmas Eve and New Year’s Eve, while Mama sat in a rocker by the tree with a wet cloth in case a branch caught fire, ready to snuff it out.

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Neither twin married. Loretta went on to become a schoolteacher and Lorena a librarian: their paths diverged, rejoined. Today they live together in Tucson, Arizona. In the small picture, taken two years ago, Lorena is at left, Loretta at right, both smiling at the unimaginable touch of time. The pictures were sent to us by their friend Elizabeth K. Brennan.

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We continue to ask our readers to send unusual and previously unpublished old photographs to Carla Davidson at American Heritage Publishing Co., 10 Rockefeller Plaza, New York, NY 10020. Please send a copy of any irreplaceable material, include return postage, and do not mail glass negatives. AMERICAN HERITAGE will pay $50.00 for each one that is run.