Were you ever in a Christmas Pageant?
I consider myself fortunate to have childhood memories that include Christmas celebrations as part of our education curriculum. Following the return to school from our four day Thanksgiving vacation, the classroom displays of black construction paper Pilgrim hats and paper plate turkeys were replaced with the start of the wondrous celebration of Christmas.
The only thing that could distract me from the waiting and counting down the days until Christmas morning was the joy of rehearsing for our Christmas pageant. Music was always a favorite class but especially true during Christmas.
Music teachers distributed mimeographed sheets with our Christmas songs that we would be presenting at our school pageant; looking at the new songs we would be singing for the next three weeks was almost as good as Christmas morning.
"Oh ho ho - who wouldn't know? Oh ho ho who wouldn't go? Up on the rooftop, click click click ..." I must have been in the third grade when we sang this song as I recall watching my sister Lisa in her kindergarten class singing Jingle Bells during the same program.
I vividly recall memorizing "A Visit From St. Nicholas" when I was in the fourth or fifth grade which our class was going to recite at that year's pageant. We were memorizing the lines where St. Nick is calling out the names of his reindeer: "Now Dasher! Now Dancer! Now Prancer and Vixen! On Comet! On Cupid! On Donner and Blitzen!" I recall it was a very sunny day and the sunlight was hurting my eyes; I felt very cold and wanted nothing more than to put my head down on my desk and take a nap. When I didn't want to get up the next morning my mother discovered a few small red pimples - chicken pox. I missed the school pageant that year, much to my dismay. Mom brought home a copy of the poem (probably from the public library) and helped me memorize the rest of the poem.
When I was in the 7th grade I tried out for the school production of Amal and the Night Visitors. I was disappointed when I wasn't chosen as the young crippled boy but was named the understudy - it is a good thing "Amal" was able to perform as the understudy never did learn Amal's lines (all though she knew all the songs!)