Wednesday, December 12, 2012

12 - 12 - 12

Last Saturday evening my son Nathan told me about when he was told there was no Santa Claus by an older cousin.  He told his cousins that there had to be a Santa because his mom wouldn't lie to him.  He described the trauma he felt when he came home and talked to me and I confirmed that Santa was a tradition and not a real person.  He found it hard to sleep that night and now wonders if it is right to do the Santa thing for his own son.

Soon I found myself sharing my own trauma of being told about Santa at a young age by an older daughter of my mother's best friend.  Nate and I also realized that our informers were sort of mean kids anyway.  The conversation turned back to good memories of Santa as well.

I love the book of 60 memories that I received for my 60th birthday last month.  Because today is special, 12 -12 -12, I've decided to share 12 childhood memories, one each day, for the 12 days before Christmas.

The above picture is of main street Rexburg, Idaho and is much like I remember it during my childhood in the 1950's.  I remember all those stores, especially Kings which opened a toy land in the basement each December.  Porters, just out of sight around the corner, had a toy land as well.  It was there that I first experienced the Etch-a-Sketch.  We were allowed in then small town America to shop by ourselves for Christmas presents along this street with J.C. Penney's at one end and a hardware store, also with a toy land, at the other.  Good times!

Even more important, though, were the Saturday visits during December of Santa Claus.  Just to the right of this picture was a street called College Avenue and it went south towards the Ricks College campus.  Children would gather on College and with great anticipation wait for Santa who would arrive on a fire engine.  We would receive brown paper bags with candy and an orange from the good old man.  It was magic!

One year my parents arranged for Santa to visit our home on Christmas Eve.  Santa came through the back kitchen door and enchanted us all.  When I told my friend Ann, who lived across Moody Road, about it the next day she told me she had heard the bells on his sleigh confirming that he was indeed the real guy.

My dad was also good to do his part to make it real.  We not only left a treat for Santa, we also put out hay for the reindeer.  After we were all asleep, Dad would bring a couple of cows into the yard to eat the hay, leave foot prints in the snow, and a dropping or two.  Pretty heady stuff for a houseful of young children.

Picture courtesy of the Upper Snake River Historical Society.

No comments: