A long time ago in the Land of Nod, I believed fully in all the entities of Santa Claus, The Easter Bunny, and The Tooth Fairy. Being a child with a very good imagination, these beliefs really hit home with me. The best part, I did not have any other adult or child spoil it for me early on. I discovered it on my own by sneaking out of bed one Christmas Eve after hearing noises coming from the attic. I slithered out of my bed, on my stomach down the hall, into the living room, and dining room. I lay quietly on the floor like a commando. In the darkness, I saw my Mom and Dad bring gift after gift from the attic. When I saw how happy they were, I realized I had ruined the story for myself through too much curiosity. I had held on to the Santa Claus idea long after other children had stopped believing. Even though I had to confront this conclusion, I knew I would never divulge the truth to my little sister, Sylvia. Believing was so much fun. Make believe is comforting when the harsh truth intervenes. Although I grew up in the small town of Sedalia, Missouri in the late 1940’s, Christmas was a big event in the town. Sedalia would put on a huge show for everyone to experience the holiday spirit. Ohio and Main Streets were all decorated with huge lighted candy canes and wreaths on the light poles. Every shop was full of Christmas gifts. I would save all year to buy Christmas gifts. Dad would want some new hankerchiefs from Russel’s Men’s Shop. Mom wanted a new pair of Hanes Hosiery and a new pair of white gloves from Flower’s Department Store. One year I bought my sister her own white Arabian plastic horse, Empress, from Mattingly’s. I walked freely all over the downtown both day and night, and knew all the shop owners by name. Floyd Pritty for shoes, Virginia Flower for Flower’s Department Store, Abe Rosenthal from Rosenthal’s Department Store, and Zurcher’s Jewelers, where I put on layaway my first piece of purchased jewelry. Sedalia was my oyster in believing the unbelievable. I still believe in the good of humanity and the possibility of the impossible can happen. I believe any day can be ‘Anything Can Happen Day’ from the old Mickey Mouse Club. Everyday is an adventure, it just depends on how you look at it. We all store that little child in our own lives by having our own toys, whether they are cars, motorcycles, stuffed animals,(like my own Tilt the Bear), trinkets, and other collectibles that we enjoyed throughout childhood. (I never got into trains or Daisy BB guns.) I still enjoy listening to those old Christmas songs that were popular during the 1950’s and 1960’s that are played every year! Perry Como, Brenda Lee, Lawrence Welk (ugh), Mitch Miller, Burl Ives, the Chipmunks, Johnny Mathis, Nat King Cole, Gene Autry, Bing Crosby, Frank Sinatra, Danny Kaye, and so many more. I grew up on this great music, and hold on to it today. Sometimes it is a real stretch for me to believe when things become so dark. I just pretend I am in my own little bed with the covers over my head with my Mom, Dad, and Sister safe in the next room. It is not that way anymore, but I have my memories from then and now. I do not think about the bad things, which I have plenty of, but the really great times and fun I have had in my life. I hope Santa brings you wonderful gifts for Christmas. Just do not get out of bed when you hear the reindeer on the roof. Merry Christmas to all and to all a good night!!
See last Christmas’s post, “White Christmas, Sedalia, 1949”