Friday, December 21, 2007

Christmas at School - Advent Calendar of Christmas Memories

Miss Henderson's class, 1958, Simon Fraser Elementary School, Vancouver, B.C. Canada.

December 16 - Christmas at School

What did you do to celebrate Christmas at school? Were you ever in a Christmas Pageant?

School Days…school days…this question drew almost a complete blank from me. Since I’ve never liked ‘performing’ in public, maybe my mind has just closed off embarrassing memories. (Hope they don’t come back in some middle-of-the-night-mare!) I do remember some school events I was in, but for school Christmases, I only remember singing carols with my elementary school classes and with the high school choir. I dimly recall Christmas concert scenes and, even better, receiving candy canes. Wonder what my brother remembers? He’s a bit more outgoing!

Organizing carol singing must have been a challenge in my elementary school, as many children were just learning English and English was then the ‘only’ language for school. Most of the teachers, though, I understood, wanted to work at that particular school. A few were definitely eccentric, but I owe those ones the most, Miss Henderson here, for example.

I was a very early reader, but I don’t think I appreciated the ‘sound’ of words till being in Miss Henderson’s class. She could recite poems and, in class, she often did. She made us do this too. I don’t recall her singing, but I’m sure she saw to it we were word perfect before Christmas. I remember she had us do eye exercises to strengthen our sight, and was she the ‘every day in every way I’m getting better and better’ teacher? I think so. (Seems she was way, way ahead of her time there! But that’s from Émile Coué’s work [1857-1926]. ) Alas, some of the bricks behind us in this photo are all that’s left of my elementary school building – it was torn down some years ago; a ‘modern’ building replaced it.

As for carols, we sang all the obvious ones – from “Jingle Bells” to “O, Holy Night”. (No idea then that hymns might be offensive to some.) I know we sang some ‘newer’ songs – like “Here Comes Santa Claus” written by Oakley Haldeman and Gene Autry (my very, very favourite movie cowboy. Jay Silverheels was next, but he didn’t sing). I had no idea till writing this that 2007 is the 60th anniversary of that song (and the Gene Autry Centennial).

Peace on Earth! It’s Winter Solstice today!


Gene Autry’s Cowboy Christmas:

‘Christmas lights synchronized to "Here Comes Santa Claus" by Gene Autry’, from pqholidays, on YouTube:

See the full Advent Calendar of Christmas Memories here:

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