Sunday, December 8, 2013

Christmas Programs in that Little School Auditorium

The floors in that small auditorium were always shiny. I now realize that meant they were polished but I was quite young that particular Christmas when sitting in the grade-school auditorium with a stage at one end and high windows at the other. All I knew was the floors were shiny. They squeaked when you walked on them. I'm not sure but I think I was in kindergarten. I remember sitting in a chair surrounded by other kids in chairs squirming and looking around for family members just like I was doing. The chairs were the heavy fold-up type. They were cold to sit on. They didn't budge because each leg had a rubber-stop thing on the end of it.

The place was jam packed. An overflow of parents and grandparents were standing in the back and as the curtain rose the Christmas program in that little school was underway to cheers from tired children and tired adults as well. After all, Christmas was near. Class parties had been held. Gifts exchanged. The program was the last event before school recessed for the Holidays. I couldn't tell you a single thing about that particular program except for the last few minutes. That's the part I'd been anticipating. That's when my older brother stood up in the audience and sang-all by himself. He had a solo part-singing a verse of We Three Kings. I was so excited! I didn't understand a thing he sang-'myrrh is mine: it's bitter perfume' made no sense to me but it didn't matter. That was my older brother standing with everyone looking at him. And when he sat down, everyone clapped and cheered just like me. As life would have it-years later I was back there as a parent and each time I attended a Christmas program I thought of when my brother sang that Christmas verse in that little neighborhood school.

Sadly, this year will be the first year there will be no Christmas program in that auditorium. There will be no tired students and tired adults gathered to celebrate the Season. There will be no yawning Santas or crying elves or little girls dressed up in pretty dresses or little boys with white shirts and dark pants or grandmothers grinning or parents snapping photos because the school is closed. It's for sale. The auditorium is quiet-empty. But if I try, I can still hear my brother sing that strange stanza-still see my daughter dressed as Mrs. Santa Claus-still see my other daughter in a pretty dress. Over the years that auditorium presented Christmas magic to so many families-including a little girl listening to her older brother sing.


  1. I loved this story. It brought back memories of when I was in the 7th grade, I too sang that very verse being one of the 3 wise men at our Christmas Pageant. Each one of us walked down the aisle and sang our verses solo. It was nerve

  2. Such a sweet story. Don't know why it make me feel like crying. The play I remember being in was not a Christmas play. I was the weather girl in the play and was supposed to say "scattered showers"...being nervous, I said "shattered scourers".. My daddy laughed about this for years!

  3. I remember when I was the mother going to my children's Christmas programs. I was usually rushed but once I got there-sat down-and as the program unfolded I realized how school Christmas programs are unforgettable experiences!

  4. RK, thank the stars we have memories to keep alive the best of the physical world that eventually, as all things do, get relegated to the discard pile.
    And reading your reminiscences sparks memories of my own; different school of course (Madill on the corner of Rennseleer and Ford Ave) but same era.