Daily Archives: December 16, 2011
Random Christmas Memory #6
The Maury Elementary School Christmas Breakfast of 1988
I used to feel so special at the thought of Santa Claus coming to my school personally to find out what we wanted for Christmas. Every year we’d all gather in the multipurpose room–The poor school’s all in one gym, auditorium and cafeteria complete with tables that either folded down out of the wall or folded up perfectly so that they could be rolled up against the wall.
That year we had something that resembled grits but tasted like a burned box of Rice-a-Roni, a piece of sausage that also tasted like burned Rice-a-Roni and an oven-warmed pecan twirl (Again, poor school). Santa sat up on stage, occasionally belting out a ho ho ho, while the rest of us ate and Mrs Claus led us in a few carols.
Finally it was time to line up by class and go up to take a picture with Santa (if your parents sent in the minimum $5) and when it was finally my turn, Santa came down with a bad cough. Mrs Claus told me to come have a seat by her until he came back. We talked for a minute or so and I happened to look over to my right where, behind the curtain, I see Santa pulling off his fake beard and drinking a Coke. My whole world shattered.
My teacher, Ms. Turner, told me that I was just seeing things. Of course that was Santa Claus up there. When I got home, my grandmother had a different explanation:
Was he Black? Well then you should’ve known something was wrong. Ain’t no such thing as a Black Santa Claus. You think these White people around here are gonna let some Black man go running around their house at night and not call the police? No, child, that wasn’t Santa Claus. It was someone who works for him. The real one can’t be everywhere all the time, so he sends people out who pretend to be him so that they can find out what you want for Christmas. He sends Black ones to places like Iverson Mall over there by Montgomery Ward and Woodies and then he sends White ones downtown to Hecht’s and all those places with White people.
Of course I went to school the next day and shared this with my teacher who simply told me to never tell anyone else that. I look back, and I’m kinda thankful for that. Well, not the whole segregated North Pole thing, but the fact that she knew that I wouldn’t buy anything less than a overly detailed explanation. In doing that she allowed the magic of Christmas to go on just a little while longer.