CHRISTMAS IN EUREKA AS A COP
I always felt that Christmas was a great time for being a cop. Things were usually good. The only downers were that some people would get depressed and would end their lives, or others would get into family fights and the cop would have to referee.
For the most part people seemed happy. On patrol, you would see the best of the Christmas decorations on the homes and share them with the other officers at briefing. Most people only get to see a few of them.
In the early days, the fifties and sixties, there was no Eureka Mall; it was long before the Bayshore Mall. You didnít shop in Old Town, as the only attraction there were the 25 bars in the area.
Shopping was done in downtown or Henderson Center, so the streets were packed with shoppers. The cars made Fourth and Fifth Streets look like long, slow moving parking lots. Christmas music was everywhere and the Salvation Army bell ringers were on most corners. We tried to keep change in our pockets, because it was troubling to pass by them without dropping something into the pot. .
Officers were given the opportunity to sign up for overtime to walk foot patrol in the stores in Henderson Center and downtown. Officers would also be assigned during the peak times of the day to direct traffic at the intersections around Dalyís, Bistrinís, Montgomery Wards, and the other anchors in the downtown area. Long gone are those stores, as well as places like Kressís, Woolworths, Cliffís, and many others.
Most officers loved those foot beats because you got to see the folks that you didnít normally see in the line of duty. They were the ones who paid your salary and seemed to appreciate your presence. You would hear ďMerry ChristmasĒ a hundred times a day.
You donít hear that as much anymore.
Of course, the extra work also meant a bigger pay check to spend on gifts for your friends and family. We didnít make much in those days. I started at $385.00 per month. That wasnít much to raise a family.
I enjoyed walking with the old timers like Captain Carey and Lt. Procissi. They were such gentlemen. We always wore hats and we use to tip our hats to the ladies who appeared to be older than we were. Being much younger, I tipped mine frequently. Today, I would not be tipping my hat very often.
I still enjoy Christmas, but it just isnít as fun these days. Too many Grinchís.