Christmas and the Path of Least Resistance

At school, Lindy and I always looked forward to the annual Christmas party.  It was held on the last day before vacation and lasted all afternoon.  The “room mother” brought cookies. And Lindy and I always prayed no one would ask our mother to be the room mother as we knew the other children would be very disappointed (and possibly physically sickened) by the refreshments.

English: Danboard holding a Christmas gift.

There was always a gift exchange and that was the first problem.  In the class, we drew names and were told to buy a gift for fifty cents.  Every year my stomach would start churning once I drew the name of my lucky recipient for the year.  First of all, I had to figure out a good gift for only fifty cents. Next, I had to try to persuade Mother not to purchase her “Go To” for teachers.

Looking for a fifty cent gift was a challenge.  If I had selected a boy’s name, I was stuck looking at art supplies or marbles.  If I had drawn a girl’s name, I had one  choice, a tiny bottle of perfume called “Blue Waltz.”  Blue Waltz was a sweet—sickeningly sweet–perfume.  I loved it and always hoped that my gift would be that wonderful heart-shaped bottle.

Every year, Mary selected a handkerchief for each of our teachers.  Each year, the teacher sat at her desk and opened handkerchief after handkerchief.

Thanks so much

the teacher would automatically say.  If these teachers had had bubonic plague, they couldn’t have used all these handkerchiefs.

HandkerchiefI’m sure they dreaded the school party day when they would receive all these dreadful (and unsanitary) gifts.  When I was teaching, I got delicious plates of cookies and, once, two steaks with a bottle of wine.  I am so glad things have changed!

By the time my sister and I were junior high school, the Christmas parties were done.  Instead Lindy and I both joined the chorus and had singing performances scheduled during an evening in December.   One year I was in a special small group called the Six-Teens.  We were not teenagers and certainly not sixteen, but I was thrilled to have been selected for the group.

Miss Pollock informed us that we would be wearing a black skirt, white blouse, black shoes, and hose.  Oh no!  My stomach started churning just thinking about explaining the very simple requests to Mary.  She always waited till the last minute to make sure I had a clean black skirt and a white blouse.  We were usually forced to stop on the way to the program to purchase nylon hose.  I would be a wreck worrying about whether I would be appropriately dressed (and Miss Pollock had already declared that anyone who didn’t have on the required outfit would not sing).

I really enjoyed the junior high singing group, but by high school I had given it up.  I couldn’t take the drama that occurred prior to every performance.  I took the path of least resistance and joined the school newspaper staff.

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