Thursday, December 16, 2010


Boy, do I remember Christmas at School!!!

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.! 

source: Dover Publications
So, she took an old sheet, which wasn't white, like an angel's clothing should be.  She didn't buy white sheets...she liked yellows, pinks, greens, blues.  Thank God she didn't like florals or stripes!!! 

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." was drafted won the role of a Czechoslovakian mother with two children. 
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 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 had her mother's skirt from back in the 19-teens.

Grandma Jennie, her two daughters, and grandbaby around 1917.
This could have been the skirt I borrowed.
She let me borrow it, with the admonition to not ruin it. (Love my family!)

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!


1 comment:

Kathy Creamer said...

Hi Sis!
I don't remember you telling me before about the long blue skirt or where the apron came from. You poor kid. I can just see Mom now, acting just like you described her. I remember when I was in first grade she ranted and raved about having to fix up treat bags for my class because it was my birthday. I don't remember for how long she carried on, but it took away any pleasure I might have gotten out of having treats for my classmates. Mostly she was mad about having to spend good money on candy for kids that were not her own, when they could have used that money for their bills. I can see now that a parent would be worried about having enough money for bills, but it shouldn't have been something a 6 year old needed to be harangued about. So I totally feel for you!