By Jane Clark


 By Jane Clark

         The year was 1945, and my sister, two brothers and I sat in the cozy living room of our tiny four-room home on Christmas Eve. Our dad told us that if we were very quiet we might hear Santa’s sleigh. I was excited at the thought of my first visit from Santa Claus.

         After what seemed like an eternity, we heard the faint sound of sleigh bells coming up our driveway. It had to be Santa! My brothers Kenny and Richard and sister JoAnn argued about whose turn it was to let him in, but our dad made the decision as to who would get the honor of opening the door. All I remember is the plump Santa entering our house carrying a big sack of presents and saying, “Ho, ho, ho.”

         Our Christmas trees were always cedars that our dad cut in the nearby woods. The decorations were items handed down from a favorite aunt and simple ornaments that we made ourselves. There were no electric lights for the tree, but I thought it was beautiful. There were also few presents since money was scare, as were many other things because of World War II.

         But on that special Christmas Eve, Santa was right there in our living  room with gifts and fresh fruit for everyone. He didn’t speak at all except for his initial “Ho ho ho.” After all the gifts were passed out, Santa got up to leave and wished us all Merry Christmas. One of my older brothers noticed as he was leaving that Santa was wearing black high heeled shoes just like the ones our Aunt Jose wore! So the secret was out—it wasn’t Santa but our wealthy aunt from New Albany who had no children, but enjoyed being Santa for her relatives’ kids.

         Knowing who Santa really was didn’t diminish my enjoyment of that Christmas or the many others that followed. When our two children were small, Larry and I didn’t try to make them believe that Santa was real, but we still had Christmas morning surprises from “Santa.” The magic still exists when we give special gifts to those we love.









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