Christmas in Smithfield


Smithfield isn’t my hometown,  but it was where my Mom and I came shopping every Saturday morning all during my childhood and even into my teenage years.  At that time, Smithfield’s businesses included a couple of grocery stores, a five and dime,  two department stores, a jewelry store  and a couple of drug stores.  My little hometown of Bacon’s Castle had a whopping four gas stations/country stores, but that was it for shopping.

A Saturday morning shopping trip to Smithfield was a big adventure. But I always wanted to get home in time to watch Sky King on tv.

Smithfield Gourmet Bakery is located in this building now. In the days of my childhood, it was Little’s Pharmacy. There was a soda fountain there, and my Mom and I always stopped in for a lime-ade during our shopping trip.

This is our small town ice cream parlor. Not only do they have good ice cream, but also delicious subs. Back in the day, this was The Flower Cupboard. I remember buying boutennaires for my prom dates here.

Smithfield Flags now occupies this building.  Years ago, it was the Chevrolet dealership. We never patronized that dealership: my Mom was a Ford woman.  I DO, however, patronize Smithfield Flags.

 In my earliest memories, this was Betts Department Store. It remained a department store (Southern and then Peebles) for many years.  It’s now The Christmas Store, which is open year-round, but especially popular this time of year.

This little building is now Lindsay Jones Apparel and Gifts. It was the Lad and Lassie shop (childrens’ clothing) when I was a little girl. My Mom occasionally bought outfits for me there, including one that had gray woolen leggings. Those things itched like crazy, and I hated wearing them.

Years ago, before the town utility lines were underground, holiday decorations on Main Street in Smithfield were huge electric Christmas bulbs hung across the street on the power lines.  You knew it was Christmas time when you came to town and the decorations were up on Main Street.  Now there are garlands and red bows on the lamp posts.

The buildings remain, although they’re home to different businesses. The decorations have changed.  Sky King is no longer on tv, and there are no gray woolen leggings in my closet (thank goodness).

But it’s still Christmas in Smithfield.

12 responses to “Christmas in Smithfield

  1. Great memories! Glad there were no woolen leggings in my memories. When I was in school, girls had to wear skirts/dresses but we managed to get around that by wearing “slacks” under them. Usually corduroy since I was always a “fattie”, I can still remember the ‘whish-whish’ those corduroy pant legs made when I walked!!

  2. grace depasquale

    This was so enjoyable Diane. You sure have a knack for writing just the right words! This is truly a unique town. I only remembered Southern, as I didn’t come to Smithfield until 1974. Thanks for sharing it. Do you have any pics of those buildings when they had previous owners??

  3. Beautiful pictures of Smithfield. I love the town.

  4. I’m always telling visitors to Smithfield that even though we are a “small town”, we really don’t stay the same for too long. But I do remember the decorations from when the utilities were above ground. That definitely signaled Christmas !!

  5. I lived in Smithfield for almost 15 years and I have some of the most memorable times of my life spent there. My sister Grace had been living there for some years and we visited often and loved Smithfield. In 1981 we moved to Moon Drive and later moved to Pagan Rd and there we lived till 1995. The people were wonderful. I still worked in Hampton and I was happy every evening to get back home to my quiet little town. I miss living there, altho, I live in Ky now and it is very quiet and peaceful here.

  6. No, Grace, I don’t have any old photos. It would have been nice to post those along with the modern photos.

  7. I had forgotten about the lights across the street! Man, I would love to see a picture of those! It was so pretty!

  8. Shirley Matthews Dunn

    I remember these days in Smithfield very well. As you know I have two home towns. Surry from 1952 till 1967. Smithfield from 1967 to 1975. We visited Smithfield all my childhood due to my mommy being from Smithfield and my Dad from Surry. I had the best of both worlds.
    Dianna, do you remember the big Chirstmas Tree at Surry Court House lit every Christmas. That was a big deal for Martha and I?

  9. Great Pictures- my boys said there is no way they would ever live in Norfolk, or Va. Beach-they can’t stand the “big cities” They have been spoiled by Smithfield-when we moved here 5 years ago they said, that they loved it here “that Smithfield was just like Mayberry with Andy and Opey”

  10. ‘Sky King’ – the one I remember the most about is when Penny was kidnapped and signaled Sky King with a mirror she shone in the sunlight. How old were you when you had the grey woolen leggings? I don’t remember them. Funny thing about me is I remember a lot of clothes, mine and others, from growing up. And your perfect Mom: that was TWO itchy woolen things she made/bought for you: the leggings and the suit for the parade! My perfect Mom made me a matching full skirt and blouse out of BRIGHT orange when I was in the sixth grade. I hated it – it made me look like a pumpkin. She was always asking me why I didn’t wear it more. I think I only wore it because I loved her!

  11. Susan, pre-school age for the leggings. They were “pre-itchy woolen parade suit”! Yes….our Moms were perfect: too bad we didn’t realize that when we were very young…….

  12. Stumbled across this while looking for small town images for my blog . . . looks like a beautiful setting!

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