The first Christmas Pageant I remember was when I was in early elementary school, maybe second grade.
Several of us girls were to be angels, so our moms had to sew a costume for each of us. The teacher sent home precise directions on how the angel costume was to be made.
It was SUPPOSED to be long...down to the floor...ankle-length...below the knee, and white. Well, mom hated to sew - with a passion! She also didn't want to spend good money on fabric that could be used for other things, say like food, clothing, utilities, car payments, etc., etc., etc.!
|DO YOU SEE ANY SHORT GARMENTS HERE?|
source: Dover Publications
I think that she used an old, pale (washed out), yellow sheet for my beautiful angel costume. And, of course, it had to be done her way, so I ended up with a short, knee-length angel dress. You can imagine the embarrassment I felt, especially when the teacher made such a big deal out of it. I hoped I would never have to be in another pageant as long as I lived.
Well, so much for that! In sixth grade, our class put on a pageant about "Christmas Around the World." I
I only had a six word line, easy enough to remember. That wasn't the problem, though I was terrified at the prospect. The problem was...I had to have a special COSTUME!!! "Oh, please God, not another costume for my mom to have to make for me!!!", I prayed.
I took the instructions home, handed them to mom, and ran! I could hear her from upstairs, "Why do they always have to have something special? I HATE sewing, and now I have to make her a skirt and apron for this Christmas play?!"
Every stitch was a chore, for both mom and me! It's not that mom didn't know how to sew, or wasn't any good at it. I don't know why she hated it so much, and didn't mind letting me know it. Maybe because she had to do it all by hand...no sewing machine. The skirt was a beautiful long (yes, I think she learned how embarrassing it was for me the last time), turquoise-y blue wonder. And, all she did was take a length of fabric, gather it at the waist, add the waistband, and hem it. But, to me, it was beautiful!
She wouldn't make the apron, though. She bought a gorgeous sheer, red Christmas apron, trimmed in white lace instead. I just recently gave that apron to my sister to hand down to her girls. I wore these two garments, along with a white blouse, and a huge headscarf tied around my shoulders for a shawl.
I was scared to death of being front of people, afraid I'd forget that one, simple little line. I can still remember, acting like I was working in the kitchen at a table, hearing loud footsteps off stage. "That must be the children now!", I manage to squeak out. The kids came into view, and we sang a Christmas song, probably something like Silent Night or Hark, The Herald Angels Sing.
Eighth grade I was in Choir. Of course, the music department put on a Christmas Concert each year - go figure! I had to have a long, black skirt and white blouse for this one. The blouse was not a problem. Mom asked my grandma if she had anything I could borrow for the concert.
|Mom, Dad, and Grandma|
|Grandma Jennie, her two daughters, and grandbaby around 1917. |
This could have been the skirt I borrowed.
The concert was a hit! One of the songs we sang was "Little Drummer Boy" and it's been one of my favorites ever since.
On arriving home after the concert, I was getting out of the car and caught my heel in the hem of that ancient skirt. It ripped and I could feel my heart sink to my feet. Surprisingly, Mom didn't say much. She managed to do a great job of repairing that tear, and Grandma never said a word to me, that I remember.
In high school, I was in concert choir and we did lots of plays and concerts, including Christmas. None of these were really memorable, as I could sew my own clothing by now.
I still was terrified of being in front of people, but enjoyed singing! I was glad, though, to be in the alto section, on the back row! LOL!