Monday, January 16, 2006
And a Mary Christmas to All
Mom and Dad sent me a package last week. Carefully packed in a cardboard shipping box filled with foam peanuts to protect the contents, I found a grocery-sized bag filled with labeled file folders...one for each year of school. I was vaguely aware that the files existed; Dad occasionally sends a few papers or reports or worksheets from my childhood to my own children when they are of a similar age. Now, Dad was cleaning out the basement and wanted to give me the choice to keep or to toss the contents.
Thirteen years of public schooling condensed into one grocery bag. I'm still working my way through the files, and I'm fascinated. So much I remember so clearly, and so much I have forgotten.
I am delighted to have a research paper from high school on "South Africa". I remember "signing up for countries" in Mr. Rohlfing's World History class, and being disappointed because someone had beaten me to "France". Twenty-some pages from a time when spellcheck programs were not generally available and typing errors were painstakingly rubbed out with a brush-ended eraser and maps were drawn and colored by hand. I appear to have gone that extra mile; each map has a fancy hand-drawn and colored border.
I was feeling pretty good about that paper, and the 74 out of a possible 75 points until Isaac looked through it and found a mistake on one of my maps. I'd like to say I could blame it on ever-changing world politics, but I can't. The map is wrong.
The Christmas card at the top of this post is a relic from 1st grade. It's reassuring to know that catching on to homophones (or rather, NOT catching on) is relatively timeless. I'm impressed today with that manger. I still draw mangers pretty much the same way I did when I was 6. Mary (or "Merry", if you will) most obviously had the hand of God upon her. I've had three babies. I certainly didn't feel as "merry" as she appears, just a few hours after having given birth. "Merry" looks as if she is up to offering hors d'oeuvres and wine to the shepherds. I remember now, looking at the picture, the excitement I felt when I figured out how to draw "swaddling clothes". So excited, evidently, that I graced one of the Wise Men with the same costume as the Babe. Inside the card, a rustic stable is lit by a spidery star and a fully decorated Christmas tree. The second Wise Man there bears an uncanny resemblance to Santa. Christmas has always been religious AND secular to me.
Christmas, and the days leading up to it, have always been my favorite time of year. Thanks, Dad and Mom, for extending Christmas 2005 just a little bit longer.