The Beautiful Christmas Windows

My sister Lindy and I attended Riverside School which was a neighborhood kindergarten through sixth grade school. Riverside was a small school and there were only one or two sections of each grade. In fourth grade, Mother made me wear a P-coat to school and it became confused with another coat belonging to a boy. The next day the teacher said

Someone took home Billy Parker’s coat last night.

It was me and I began crying. The teacher assured me that she knew I had not stolen his coat, and that it was a natural mix-up since we both had the same type of coat. In reality, that was why I was crying–because I had been wearing a boy’s coat!

In sixth grade my luck had changed. I was in the only sixth grade classroom with twenty boys and just five girls…and Billy Parker had moved away. Sixth grade was so much fun with a teacher who asked every afternoon

Would you like to study science or square dance?

I know everything about do-si-do and alleman left.

Anyway, in the month of December, this teacher abandoned not only the science lessons but also the ones in square dancing to create the most beautiful “stained glass” windows for our classroom. Not having welding tools and considering broken glass much too dangerous for twelve year old children, the windows were created on large pieces of butcher paper which were then hung in the long windows of our classroom.

Everyone had a partner and mine was David Stanley. David and I would have tied for the title of “Least Artistic” in the classroom. My dreams of producing the best window were fading fast. Some of the students were able to re-create one of the Christmas hymns like “Silent Night” or “Away in a Manger.” David and I were not good at drawing people. In fact, the only thing we were both really good at drawing was Christmas trees. I don’t remember much about our window, except that it was not one of the ones people “Oooo”ed and “Ahhh”ed over. I think it was a scene of lots of Christmas trees–possibly a Christmas tree lot with no people around.

That year, I was not unhappy to see December draw to a close and to resume the lively pursuit of the square dance.

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