If you lived in the Phillipsburg, New Jersey area from 1950-1990 or so, you most likely had a relative or friend who worked for Ingersoll Rand. In our family my brother Buddy, my sister Ruth Ann, and I had worked for I.R.
I think it would be fair to say that it would be hard to find a kid who had not attended the Ingersoll Rand Christmas Party that was held every year. I can remember attending my first party when it was held at the former Hillcrest Club which had been in Delaware Park before it burned down on March 9, 1966. After the demise of the Hillcrest Club, the party was held in the Gym of Phillipsburg High School.
The Saturday on which it was held, the entire gym was transformed into a Christmas Wonderland. The bleachers were packed full with excited children who were filled with the spirit of the wonder of the season.
First there was always a show that was made up of performing dogs, who could dance and jump through hoops of fire. Then there was a magician, and when my girls were little that magician/ventriloquist was the extremely entertaining Linda Holliday who was actually Linda Cotugna a Phillipsburg alumni.
After the entertainment all of the children join in on a sing along of Christmas carols and songs, which usually ended with Jingle Bells or Santa Claus Is Coming To Town, with a request to sing it louder and louder...then Santa arrived.
While all the children filed out of the gym, Santa, or one of his elves handed each child a Christmas decorated shopping bag filled with a toy, and orange, apple, animal crackers, and hard candy.
It is so heart warming to write about this event, as it has brought back all those wonderful inner feelings of being in that moment. It was an experience that I have shared with my siblings, friends, and even my children, and their friends.
Ingersoll Rand is no longer the force it had been in Phillipsburg, I am not sure, but I think it is totally gone. There hasn't been a Christmas party for many years. It is a sad day that this tradition in Phillipsburg no longer exists for our grandchildren, as it is such a wonderful memory.
In Alpha we also loved to attend the John Dolak American Legion Christmas Party. They also gave the best gifts, and their bag of goodies included chocolate candy. That too is now just a memory.
If you had attended this party, please leave a comment below with your memory.