Only faith, fancy, poetry, love, romance…

Eight-year-old Virginia O’Hanlon wrote a letter to the editor of New York’s Sun, and the quick response was printed as an unsigned editorial Sept. 21, 1897. The work of veteran newsman Francis Pharcellus Church has since become history’s most reprinted newspaper editorial.
“DEAR EDITOR: I am 8 years old.
“Some of my little friends say there is no Santa Claus.
“Papa says, ‘If you see it in THE SUN it’s so.’
“Please tell me the truth; is there a Santa Claus?”VIRGINIA O’HANLON.
“115 WEST NINETY-FIFTH STREET.”

VIRGINIA, your little friends are wrong. They have been affected by the skepticism of a skeptical age. They do not believe except [what] they see. They think that nothing can be which is not comprehensible by their little minds. All minds, Virginia, whether they be men’s or children’s, are little. In this great universe of ours man is a mere insect, an ant, in his intellect, as compared with the boundless world about him, as measured by the intelligence capable of grasping the whole of truth and knowledge.

Yes, VIRGINIA, there is a Santa Claus. He exists as certainly as love and generosity and devotion exist, and you know that they abound and give to your life its highest beauty and joy. Alas! how dreary would be the world if there were no Santa Claus. It would be as dreary as if there were no VIRGINIAS. There would be no childlike faith then, no poetry, no romance to make tolerable this existence. We should have no enjoyment, except in sense and sight. The eternal light with which childhood fills the world would be extinguished.

Not believe in Santa Claus! You might as well not believe in fairies! You might get your papa to hire men to watch in all the chimneys on Christmas Eve to catch Santa Claus, but even if they did not see Santa Claus coming down, what would that prove? Nobody sees Santa Claus, but that is no sign that there is no Santa Claus. The most real things in the world are those that neither children nor men can see. Did you ever see fairies dancing on the lawn? Of course not, but that’s no proof that they are not there. Nobody can conceive or imagine all the wonders there are unseen and unseeable in the world.

You may tear apart the baby’s rattle and see what makes the noise inside, but there is a veil covering the unseen world which not the strongest man, nor even the united strength of all the strongest men that ever lived, could tear apart. Only faith, fancy, poetry, love, romance, can push aside that curtain and view and picture the supernal beauty and glory beyond. Is it all real? Ah, VIRGINIA, in all this world there is nothing else real and abiding.

No Santa Claus! Thank God! he lives, and he lives forever. A thousand years from now, Virginia, nay, ten times ten thousand years from now, he will continue to make glad the heart of childhood.

Thanks to newseum.org for the clipping.

The Ghosts of Christmas Past

Friendly ghosts.

Really!

I have some of the most wonderful Christmas memories. Not just of things but of traditions and love and laughter. I feel blessed to have had such an amazing home to grow up in.

I still can’t make cut out cookies without remembering the grand event of sugar cookies at Christmastime. There were glittery sugar sprinkles, colored frostings, red hot cinnamon candies, the annoying little silver balls that skittered across the table and more cookie cutter than you could imagine!

I can still see cookie dough and flour everywhere! I still see my hands grasping the red handles of Mom’s wooden rolling pin and trying to roll out dough evenly. I also see those hands shoving scraps of sugar dough in my mouth 🙂

My first Christmas – me between my big brother and sister – 1973

I was such a baby doll kind of girl. I think this was 1979.

See the old Singer sewing machine behind the jacket. Gorgeous, huh? I used to play on that for hours. It was everything from my  librarian’s desk to part of my seamstress shop to a bank teller’s counter.

Overactive imagination at play.

My first two wheeler – 1978 – in front of the house my parents still live in.

This bike was such a surprise! I went to the bike store with my parents a few weeks before Christmas to pick out ten speeds for my brother and sister. Mom and Dad told me I wasn’t big enough for a two wheel bike yet. I can remember being very sad. I was so tall for my age (as tall as my teacher!) that my knees would scrape when I rode my red tricycle!

When my parents brought “The Big Kids” outside to show them their bikes I almost didn’t believe their was a blue bike for me out there too! A Blue Schwin with a white leather seat and a bell with an American Flag on it. In the Spring we added a white basket covered with daisies for the handlebar.

I have many fond memories of tear-assing around riding my bike. There was an actual circle of houses in the center of the neighborhood and paved road around them. Collation Circle had an incline which made for some pretty fun “no hands, no feet” excursions with my ponytail sticking straight out.

My Mom and my brother. I miss that big entertainment center we used to have. I think I even miss the gold filigree mirrors. Just kidding.

I do have many fond memories of that bookshelf though. I was probably the only kid in the world who would sit and read the encyclopedias and my Dad’s old medical books. Of course when I wanted to kick back and relax I had the shelf of classics – Treasure Island, Tom Sawyer, Little Women, Robinson Crusoe.

The thing is my Mom’s hand is a scanner. It held crystals that allowed my firefighter Dad to listen to the fire and police broadcast channels for our town. This way he could run to a brush fire or a nearby car fire. Even to dash off to deliver a baby or rescue a dog from the cracked ice of a lake. Oh yeah, all true stories btw.

Now that I am an adult I realize the real reason we had the scanner in the house. So Mom would know Dad was safe.

The real gift of the holidays is those we love safe and sound.

Keep yours close to you and enjoy them. Let them know they are the only gift you want this season.