Every childhood has a character in it's story. My childhood has Uncle Willie.
He wasn't my uncle or anyone else's uncle as far as I knew, but we all called him Uncle Willie none-the-less.
He and his wife Skip were the most generous people I have ever known. I could go on for hours with Uncle Willie stories, but during this time of year, I think of Uncle Willie for one very important reason: Uncle Willie was Santa Claus.
There is still no doubt in my mind that Uncle Willie was Uncle Willie 11 months of the year, but once December rolled around he was the real deal.
As we lived in the tropics, there was no snow, but the week before Christmas, Uncle Willie would ride through the neighborhoods on a sleigh that was pulled by a pickup truck. We never knew when he would come around, but when he did, he had a toy for every child who came out of their house and he knew each of those children by name. Sure, I know that the parents provided the gifts, but he knew just when to pull it out and who to give it to. I'm not talking about one neighborhood. I'm talking about a couple hundred kids in several towns!
Every Christmas morning, he would come to our house dressed as Santa and playing his french horn. The funny thing about the horn was the grill that covered the opening as he played terribly and people would throw things into it to make him stop! Nothing could stop Uncle Willie from playing that horn.
Uncle Willie and Skip are both gone now, but I'll never forget them and every Christmas, when I put my favorite ornament on the tree, I think of Uncle Willie, thank him for making that simple scallop shell ornament for me and tell him again just how much I miss him.
A month has passed since kindergarten started, but the images are still so fresh of the beginning of an academic journey:
School clothes shopping
Photographs by fixed objects to track growth over the years.
Bright, shiny faces.
And finally the big day!
Ever Really Needed to Know I Learned in Kindergarten
- by Robert Fulghum
Most of what
I really need to know about how to live, and what to do, and how to be, I
learned in Kindergarten. Wisdom was not at the top of the graduate school
mountain, but there in the sandbox at nursery school.
These are the
things I learned: Share everything. Play fair. Don't hit people. Put things back
where you found them. Clean up your own mess. Don't take things that aren't
yours. Say you're sorry when you hurt somebody. Wash your hands before you eat.
Flush. Warm cookies and cold milk are good for you. Live a balanced life. Learn
some and think some and draw and paint and sing and dance and play and work some
Take a nap every
afternoon. When you go out into the world, watch for traffic, hold hands, and
stick together. Be aware of wonder. Remember the little seed in the plastic cup.
The roots go down and the plant goes up and nobody really knows how or why, but
we are all like that.
hamsters and white mice and even the little seed in the plastic cup - they all
die. So do we.
And then remember
the book about Dick and Jane and the first word you learned, the biggest word of
all: LOOK . Everything you need to know is in
there somewhere. The Golden Rule and love and basic
sanitation, ecology and politics and sane living.
Think of what a
better world it would be if we all - the whole world - had cookies and milk
o'clock every afternoon and then
lay down with our blankets for a nap. Or if we had a basic policy in our nation
and other nations to always put things back where we found them and clean up our
own messes. And it is still true, no matter how old you
are, when you go out into the world, it is best to hold hands and stick
That's me. The short one. The one people looked at and thought, "Do her parents really let her out of the house looking like that?"
Maybe my parents just never really looked at me.
That's not true because I know my father always looked at my hair after I got a haircut. One time, he took me back for more because he felt that there hadn't been "enough hair on the deck." Sigh. That's another story.
Maybe I picked out my own clothes that day and my mother felt that while I was expressing myself poorly, I had enough fashion sense to make sure the colors matched.
That can't be true because that's my father behind me. The one in the red pants and brown shirt. Looking at his garb proves one thing: They dressed me this way on purpose!
Let me tell you what happens to children whose parents dress them to look like little circus clowns:
They are always the last ones to be picked for a team. Oh, the humiliation!
They are always the ones that the only time boys would speak to them would be to say, "Hey! Tell your friend I like her and then come back and tell me what she said." Oh, the agony!
They are always the ones that have lots of blue ribbons adorning their bulletin boards. Unfortunately they are all participation awards. Oh, the injustice!
I know. This all sounds like one big pity party. You say, "You have a handsome husband, two fine children, a home and a garden. It all worked out okay. You overcame it." I actually thought that too.
Then I realized that in the shadows still sits that chubby kid who's only wish at the start of each school year was that that would be the year a new kid would come to town. A new kid who was chubbier, klutzier and zittier than her. And do you know what drew that chubby kid out of the shadows? RAVELRY!
Okay, so I'm not really last on the list, but DAMN! I wanna play!
To cheer myself up, I popped over to read The Panopticon, which I haven't read in probably seven months. Franklin is always good for a smile, if not a full blown laugh. His last post was two days ago and this is what he had to say:
"I'm also working down the leg of the second of a pair of cabled socks
and clicking along a piece of lace. However, all may stop dead for a
little while because...