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Today in My History

2000:  If Wishes were Horses
2001:  How Do I Love Thee? Let Me Count the Miles
2002:  Deck the Halls
2003:  Brave New World
2004:  Giving Pleasure
2005 Ho-Ho-Ho, Merry Christmas

2006 Hide and Go Seek
2007: An 1843 Cold Case
2008: A Global Alphabetical Apology
2009: Take 2 Puppies and Call Me in the Morning
2010: The Yearly Letter
2011:  All Dressed Up and Nowhere to Go
2012: Seeing Red
2013:  21st Century Conversation
As the (Leisure) World Turns
2015  Peace on Earth
2016: God Bless us Every One
2017: Sunday Stealing
2018: Bing Crosby's Christmas

Theater Reviews
Updated 12/1
Coney Island Christmas

Books Read in 2019
 Updated 11/9
"The Elephant in my Kitchen"

Our Christmas Letter

Personal Home Page

My family

Books Read in 2019
Books Read in 2018

Books Read in 2017
Books Read in 2016
Books Read in 2015
Books Read in 2014
Books Read in 2013

Books Read in 2012
Books Read in 2011
Books Read in 2010

updated 7/16

(you know how to fix it)

Some Background Links:
The Philosophy of Juice & Crackers
The story of Delicate Pooh
The story of the Pi�ata Group
Pumpkin pies
Who IS this Gilbert person anyway?

mail to Walt / mail to Bev  


December 3, 2019

I try to read several Holidailies entries each year, and enjoy seeing "old friends" from previous years, and meeting new bloggers who are trying Holidailies out for the first time. 

The other night I read an entry about someone who had gone to see The Nutcracker at the local ballet and how much she had enjoyed it.

The Nutcracker is the story of a huge part of our family history.

In 1977, the guy who was in charge of such events in town decided that to give the kids who were going to be on vacation in December something to do, he would put on a Children's Nutcracker.

He put out a call for kids interested in being a part and said anybody who auditioned would be cast. The only requirement is that you had to be between 5 and 12 years of age. David just made it in under the wire. Some kids would have featured roles. Some would have speaking parts. Most would just be in groups on the stage.

Seventy kids were cast for that first production.

It was the most ingenious way of working with such a large number of kids. They were divided into groups: The clowns, the Russian Dancers, Pennywhistle dancers, the Snowflakes, etc., etc. Each group had a couple of college-age director/choreographers who put them through their simple dance steps. Parents who could sew made costumes--a lot of them were felt with trim glued on. The music was recorded. And on the day of the performance, the theatre was filled with 350 parents, siblings, grandparents, and friends and The Davis Children's Nutcracker made its debut.

The kids with speaking parts were in the party scene at the beginning. And during Clara's dream, each of the groups came on, did their little bit and went off stage again. Polished it wasn't, but it was unique and it was terrific.

Ned was a clown that first year. Tom and David were mice. Paul was a wooden soldier and Jeri was the Sugarplum Fairy (I'm sure I have some of these roles wrong--the kids were in the show for a few years, and I may be mixing up shows and roles). Years later when Ned and Marta began dating, they were comparing their childhood scrapbooks and discovered that they were both clowns the second year and a photo shows them as parts of a human/clown pyramid. Obviously they were destined to be clowning around together for the rest of their lives.


At the end of the performance, the whole cast lined up on stage for a triumphant bow. A Davis tradition was born.


The whole thing went so well that the town parents clamored for a repeat the following year. This year is the 42nd anniversary of The Davis Children�s Nutcracker.

Things have changed significantly in 42 years.  The show is so popular that you have to join a lottery to see if you get in.  Now the limit for cast is 250 kids and more than that many want to be involved.

Our kids were in the show for several years, then went on to work as directors and  technicians.  Ned actually worked with his friend on tech for Nutcracker for a couple of decades.

So I always smile when I read about people seeing Nutcracker for the first time, since it has been such a huge part of our lives for decades.  When Jeri and Phil sents out engagement announcements, they used a photo sitting inside the plum that they had built for that year's production.

The David Children's Nutcracker has very little resemblance to what Tchaikovsky wrote in 1892.  With 250 in the cast they had to invent new groups of dancers, which now include dolls, teddy bears, cats, frogs, Hawaiian dancers, pirates and others.  But it's great fun, the kids have something to do on vacation and the parents get to bring grandma and grandpa to see the little darlings performing.


Train - 1969
Jeri - Ned - Paul

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