Today in My History
Paper Packages Tied Up with String
Books Read in 2019
SANTA'S COMING TO TOWN
December 20, 2019
I learned the truth about Santa Claus during an Easter egg hunt.
We lived in a flat in San Francisco and while we had what one could call a "back yard," it was solid concrete, and more for the purpose of hanging clothes on the line than playing in grass ... or hiding Easter Eggs.
We were on the ground floor and there was a big apartment building which was next to our building, with about a foot and a half between the two buildings, which we called the "light well." When you looked out the window of the pantry in our kitchen you saw a big blank wall that went up five floors.
We had no fire place, so Santa could not come down our chimney. He had to come down the light well and we always put cookies and milk next to the window from the light well into the dining room. He would eat the cookies, leave crumbs and an empty glass, and then go back up the light well to the waiting reindeer on the roof.
I even heard him one night. Rustling and muttering coming from the living room, but I was too afraid to go out and confront him.
The Easter Bunny got into the house the same way, though I'm not sure if he was able to leap up two stories to get out of the light well...but I never thought about that too deeply. But the Easter Bunny hid our Easter goodies in the living room. Under tables, behind pillows, etc.
It was such a traumatic moment, I guess, that I can still picture where we were standing and what my sister was doing at the time.
My mother and father were standing at the door to the living room and I began to notice that they were giving hints to Karen and me about where to look for eggs and candy. It suddenly hit me that there had been no Easter Bunny -- it was my parents who had hidden them.
Thinking how smart I was, I went up to them and said, very quietly, "thank you."
My father looked at me and said "well, now that you know about the Easter Bunny and Santa Claus, don't spoil it for your sister.
I hadn't yet made that connection and I was absolutely shocked to have one of my most special fantasies ended so abruptly.
I'm sure the trauma has affected me my whole life. :)
I don't really know how our kids found out about Santa. Ned says it was when he saw one of his gifts in the back seat of the car and then on Christmas morning that same box under the tree from "Santa."
We have a fireplace, so the kids could make cookies for Santa in the afternoon and then leave them by the fireplace. Walt assured them, though, that Santa would really prefer beer to milk, so we left cookies and beer, which were always finished and appreciated by Santa.
I don't remember how old I was when my Santa fantasies were shattered. Brianna is 11 and Lacie is 8. Brianna still believed last Christmas and Laurel says she thinks Bri knows and is just keeping quiet for Lacie's sake. At 11 I would be shocked if she still believed in Santa Claus.
Santa Claus is the first big lie our parents ever told us. And what lengths they went to to keep the lie going. There were Santas everywhere because they weren't the real Santa, but his helpers, because he was busy at the North Pole getting his sleigh loaded.
But then sooner or later you realize that your parents have been lying to you for years. It's hard to be angry with them because you got such nice presents from them through the Santa fantasy. But do we ever completely trust what our parents say to us ever again?
PHOTO OF THE DAY
Paul - Ned, 1973
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This is entry #7210