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“One Christmas in Old Tascosa” Gives a Glimpse into the Stories Behind The History Of Texas

A famous showgirl gives hope and Christmas spirit back to children who can’t afford Christmas wishes, in a new book from Texas Tech University Press.

TTU Press

By Gretchen M. Pressley

November Book Cover

In this touching, true story published by the Texas Tech University Press, Casandra Firman tells of her then 7-year-old mother’s school Christmas pageant.

Quintille Speck-Firman Garmany was a child in Tascosa, Texas, during the Great Depression and the Dust Bowl. The town of Tascosa consisted of only a few farmhouses. Quintille lived in little more than a shack, ate only the food that her mother grew for them, and considered using more than one pencil per year at school an extravagance. Since her family couldn’t afford a traditional Christmas celebration, the only holiday cheer Quintille had to look forward to was her annual school Christmas Pageant.

At first glance, the isolated, poverty stricken life of Quintille and her classmates is far removed from the modern life of children who have access to almost all the material possessions they need. However, Firman’s descriptions of Quintille’s uncomplicated joy while playing with her friends, her childlike, jealous feelings, and even her first feelings of puppy love towards a boy in her class masterfully capture the simple, emotional essence of being a child.

Firman’s book also includes the story of a true Texas heroine: Frenchie McCormick. Frenchie was a famous dance-hall girl from Tascosa’s boom days. In the book, she is the archetype of sacrificing for a love lasting beyond death. This book tells the story of how Quintille’s class met Frenchie when an inconvenient snowstorm trapped them in their one-room school house.

Based on Quintille’s memories, “One Christmas in Old Tascosa” is filled with facts about Tascosa and Texas in the 1920s and 1930s. It is an easy-to-read book, even for children, and has black-and white illustrations. The Afterword is written by Quintille Speck-Firman Garmany herself, and it includes modern pictures of the settings described in the story.

For more information or to purchase the book, visit the Texas Tech University Press Web site.