Friday, November 20, 2009


I cannot remember ever believing
in Santa Clause. I'm sure I
did before I was 4. Doesn't
every child believe? I
just don't remember.

I have an older brother.
Maybe he told me there was no
Santa. We were always fighting
and no doubt he spilled the
truth to get back at me for something.
Again, I don't remember.

I do remember thinking it was
stupid to think that reindeer could
fly or that Santa delivered
presents in a sleigh when there
was never snow in NJ in the 1940's at
Christmas. Besides I never saw
a reindeer pulling the wagons and
carts for the milk man, bread
man, or huckster. It was horses
that did that. Deer is what Daddy
shot and what we ate. Pretty much like
the chickens, pigs and cows. Did
I mention I was a farm kid?

I also questioned why it was always
god who would punish you all
year long until after Thanksgiving.
Then suddenly it was Santa
who knew if you were good or bad.
I was quite aware that it
wasn't god or Santa who knew when
I was bad. It was Mom.

To add to these doubts there
were always packages hidden under
my parents bed and on Christmas
morning it was only those
packages that appeared under the
tree. Then there were all
the Santa's at stores, at the church
and VFW parties, standing on
street corners in the city ringing
a bell. All in smelly, cheap
costumes with an obviously fake beard.
Mom tried to tell me they were
Santa's helpers and the "real" Santa
was at Gimbles Department store.
His beard was fake too.

Still, every year my Mom would
dress up my brother and I the day
after Thanksgiving for our
yearly trip to Gimbles to tell
Santa what we wanted for Christmas.
I clearly remember my brother and I
fighting and fidgeting while waiting in
line to see Santa.
He was instructed to hold my hand and
of course he kept squeezing it so hard it
hurt. And both of us could not wait
until it was over because then Mom
took us to the fancy restaurant in the
department store for lunch.

I was a Daddy's girl. When ever he was
working in the garden, cutting the
grass, raking leaves, cleaning
out the chicken coop, etc. I was there
following him like a puppy dog.
I could talk to Daddy. Mom was the
rule maker and keeper and whatever she
claimed was truth could not be
disputed. Dad would talk, tell me
to use my head and figure it out for

I guess I was about 4 years old,
I wasn't in school yet.
As usual I was following
Daddy around while he raked up huge
piles of leaves. I told him that I didn't
want to go see Santa. That I
didn't believe he was real. As usual
Daddy didn't tell me if I was right or
wrong. He just said I had a good
head on my shoulders and to use it.
But he told me that it was important
to my Mom to go see Santa because it made
her happy. He warned me that
it was not a good idea to contradict
my Mom. Just go along with what
she wanted. So that is what I did
until I was 7 years old.

On Thanksgiving morning I was in
the kitchen helping Mom. After she
rolled out the pie crusts she
would give me the trimmings and I
would roll them out, cut them
with the cookie cutter, then sprinkle
them with cinnamon and sugar to
to make cookies.

Mom said the big day was coming
when I would get to tell Santa what
I wanted for Christmas. And Mom added,
being her usual dictator self,
that I had better not ask for
too much since Santa knew that I
had not been good all year.

I told her I not only did not want
to go sit on Santa's lap that
I did not, and never believed he
was real. And, stupidly, I told
her that Daddy told me not to tell
that I didn't believe.

Well, this threw Mom into one of
her snits. She called Daddy into the
kitchen yelling at him for telling
me there was no Santa. Daddy saved
himself, and me, when he told
Mom that it was me who told him
I didn't believe. So then she called
my brother. He also denied that he
ever told me there was no Santa
and again claimed it was me
who told him I didn't believe.
Who knows or remembers what
the real truth is?

You might think that was the end of
it? No, Mom went on and on about
what her friends would think
about her daughter not believing.
And that whether I wanted to or not
my brother and I were going to
go tell Santa what we wanted.

I told her that I would NOT sit
on Santa's lap and I would NOT talk
to him. And this only made
Mom angrier and yell louder at
me for being just like my father.
Well, that made me really mad and I
blurted out "I don't believe in
the tooth fairy either!"

So she told me not to bother putting
my tooth that was loose under
the pillow. There would be no money
for any more lost teeth.

Ah, but I won that one too.
When the tooth finally fell out I
gave it to my Daddy. He gave
me a quarter. This made my brother
really mad because Mom had only
been giving him a nickel
for his lost teeth. Ah, sweet
Victory in the brother/
sister wars.

And an additional note to this story.
Our family had moved to our new
home on Kendall Blvd. Eva
was about 7, Anna was 5 and
Marybeth was just a baby.

I never really told my girls if there
was a Santa or not. I guess they
believed, I didn't promote that they
should. We were sitting around
the kitchen table and Eva asked me
if there was really a Santa.
I didn't say yes or no but I did
tell them that Santa was a business and
sold toys to parents just like
they did at the stores. That I had
to pay Santa for the toys and
that Dad and I didn't have much
money that year so we couldn't buy
them every thing they wanted.

Years later Eva told me that I was
a mean mother for telling her
that. Guess that's where I gained
the name "Mommie Dearest"?


  1. *laughs* I love it! I don;t remember ever believeing in Santa either - crazy stuff, but true! Some stories I guess are just too good to be true - even for children! ;)

  2. wow - those spelling errors were Syd's fault...*don't and believing! :p