Lost and Found with Santa Claus

by Elna Nugent
(Lenox, MA 01240)

THE SUBJECT OF whether or not we should tell children about Santa can be a heated debate.

Some are adamant against lying to children ( like many of my fellow teachers where I taught) . Others thought it should be something kids should enjoy.

After all there really was a St. Nicholas who moved around Europe and actually did brings toys and gifts to very needy children. I could see both sides of the question but I should probably recuse myself from the debate, because.....

One December when I was about five yeas of age, I had six dolls and a teddy bear that I cherished. But there was one doll in particular that was my daily companion and I took her everywhere. I confided in her and she was my friend. But one day she disappeared. I remember hunting high and low for her with a sense of panic. My mother didn't say much except for, "Oh she''ll probably turn up one of these days."

The one place I couldn't look for her was the attic because my parents had locked the door off their master bedroom where there was a precarious ladder that led to it the attic. There was also a huge closet there and a big window where my mother kept her sewing machine and materials.

This was in the mid 1930's during the Great Depression when my mother made most of our clothes except for warm tweed coats that were handed down to us from our more prosperous relatives. I figured Mother was making something for my older sister for Christmas so she kept the door locked.

One day after I had finished exploring the cellar for my doll I could hear the front door bell ring. I ran up to see who it was but all I saw was a piece of white paper that was slipped under the door. It had big printed letters on it that said,

"Elna, I have taken your Shirley Temple doll to have her hair curled. You will get her back on Christmas morning. Love, Santa."

Talk about shock, awe, and wonder. I felt a thrill go though my whole body. I kept that note and my mother couldn't get me to part with it.

Finally, Christmas morning, after looking through our stockings which were hung near the kitchen stove, my father said," Okay, time to go into the living room and look under the tree."

We pulled back the big draperies and there was my doll. She not only had her hair curled like new, she had a whole wardrobe full of new clothes hanging on tiny hangers. She even had a little fake fur coat that looked curiously much like one we used to have. I had to put it on her immediately.

Throughout my entire life, I so loved that my mother and father "allowed me to believe in Santa Claus".

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