As an adult, I was told Pop dressed up as Santa for his ten children. He’d arrive on our front porch, clad in a red suit with a large bag thrown over his shoulder. Someone would open the kitchen door and Santa would reach in his bag and throw oranges, apples, and candy on the floor. And then Santa was gone. Although I was told this story many times, I myself could not remember the Santa of my childhood.
In time, we, the ten siblings, grew up and had our own children with their own visions of Santa.
Once our children were grown, it was my sisters---Anita, Jannetta, Mary Alice, Dorothy, Gladys, and me, Carole---who started celebrating our birthdays together each year.
The sisters ranged in ages 60 to 40 years old when our father, in his 80s, had a stroke. It was then the ten children set up a 24-hour care giving service for Pop. Thus, our six traditional birthday parties were celebrated in our parents’ home.
It was a cold, wintry day in December that Gladys had her birthday party. Upon arrival, the sisters were ordered to “hang out” in the basement until Mom called us. We fussed quite a bit about having to be in a cold, unheated basement a length of time. Gladys insisted it would be worth it.
Some 30 minutes went by until Mom called, “OK, you can all come up now!”
Guess who was sitting in the rocking chair, with presents on his lap, as we entered the living room? SANTA CLAUS. He was bedecked in a red suit, broad smile, a right jolly old fellow. Santa delighted in each of his daughters sitting on his lap and handing us a present. Yes, Pop was the most beautiful Santa we had ever seen!
Carole Christman Koch grew up in Berks County and has been published in numerous publications. She has a passion for writing and has many stories from growing up on a farm to raising children to humorous stories about her and her husband to everyday stories to season stories and more.