Friday, December 16, 2011

Advent Calendar 2011 - A Christmas Cut-Up

[Note: This post originally ran during the first Advent Calendar of Christmas Memories in December, 2007]

My memories of Christmas at school begin at St.Peter's Catholic School in Liberty, New York which I attended during Grades 1, 2 and 3. The focus, of course, was on the story of the Nativity and not on the more secular features of Christmas such as decorations and Santa. I remember there were no Christmas trees in classrooms - there may have been one in the main lobby of the school. I do know there were no Christmas trees in the church itself.

I started school at a very young age - I think 4 1/2 years old in kindergarten which was at the public school. I was a handful for my mother, both from an intelligence standpoint as well as physically. I'm sure it was a challenge to keep me in line, as I would hear stories that my mother laughed at in later years.

One example: it was tradition to have the nuns who taught school come over to a student's home for dinner at least once during the school year. Usually it would be the two or three nuns who taught your child. Our visit fell during the Christmas season which was quite a bit of fun. Until my mother's inquisitive son opened his mouth during dinner - and not to shovel in food.

I remember asking one of the nuns why she didn't have children and if she had been spayed like our dog Blondie. Well my mother said later, "I thought I should just die right there." Of course, this was the late 1960s and the nuns who taught me were part of a very hip, post-Vatican II group. I think they laughed for minutes on end at my remark.

While I performed in many Christmas concerts, and also as one of the VonTrapp childen in our version of The Sound of Music one year, I was more known for my versions of popular songs. This included Jingle Bells. Now if you are of a certain age (and I won't say what that age is), you will know what the image above means and how it relates to Jingle Bells.

© 2011, copyright Thomas MacEntee

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