Sunday, December 16, 2007

A Christmastime Lesson Learned

Advent Calendar, December 16: School

Today's the day Santa's coming to our classroom! Wow, what will he bring?

Alvarado Elementary School,
Richmond, California

Funny, Santa doesn't look really old. I thought he'd have a lot of wrinkles, like Grampa Johnson. He sure is big, though, a lot bigger than anybody else in the room. The red suit looks really soft. I'd like to find out what it feels like, but Teacher warned us not to touch. What do you think would happen if paste got all over Santa's suit? He'd have to go back to the North Pole, and Mrs. Claus would have to wash and iron it all over again, and then we'd have to wait for our presents.

We shared some cookies and punch with Santa, then we opened our presents and sang Jingle Bells. When Santa left to go to the next classroom, he almost got stuck in the doorway with his large pack. Boy, he must be eating a lot of cookies.

Everybody in class got a little white china bell with a picture on it. How cute! They sound pretty, too. Some bells are round, and some are square. I like the square bells best, but I got a round one. Oh well, it's pretty anyway.

After school, I walked home with my friend, Kathy. This boy I didn't know ran up and held a square bell in front of my face. "Hey, wanna trade?" he asked.

I looked down at the round, white bell in my hand. Even though Santa had given me this one, I didn't think it would hurt to trade... and I did like the square bells a little bit better, so I said: "Sure."

The boy took my round bell and gave me his square bell. He ran off a few steps, stopped, and then held his arm way out over the sidewalk. He opened up his fingers and let go of the little bell Santa had given me. It fell and broke into a hundred little pieces on the sidewalk.

Did he just do that on purpose? It sure didn't look like an accident!

The boy hurried back over to me. He was trying to look angry and upset at the same time, and he yelled in my face: "Gimme mine back!"

I was afraid of bullies. I didn't want to give the bell back, but I did, mostly because I felt guilty about trading.

I walked home in a daze. As soon as Mommy opened the door, I started to cry. I cried so hard that when she tried to find out what was wrong, I couldn't talk. She took the lunch box out of my hand and helped me take off my coat and scarf, and then made some hot cocoa. Pretty soon, I was able to tell her about the bell and about the boy who wanted to trade... and how he broke it just to be mean.

I lost my bell. I wished I had kept the round one. Now I didn't have any!

Aunt Mabel had been listening from the dining room table. She told me: "Chery, put your coat and scarf back on. Let's walk down the street and see if we can find it."

"Really?" I sniffled and choked. "But, it's all broken up!"

"Well, let's just go take a look."

We walked a few blocks back to school, and I showed her the spot where the bell was dropped. Instead of a bell, there were lots and lots of white specks everywhere. Aunt Mabel bent down and began to pick them all up and put them into a bag - even the tiniest pieces, and I helped.

A couple of days later, I woke up and went into the kitchen for breakfast. I couldn't believe what I saw: there on the table was my little round bell! It was missing a little bit on one side, but it looked pretty much the same. Mommy told me that she stayed up late after putting my baby sister to bed, and then she glued the bell back together.

I had my bell back! I hugged her and felt like crying again. I told myself I would never trade a present again, whether it came from Santa Claus, or from anyone else.


  1. Thanks for sharing this story. Wasn't your mom great to glue it back together for you!

  2. Oh, how sweet! Isn't it amazing how moms can make everything better again?

  3. What a great story. You really conveyed your emotions well. You're tugging at my heartstrings...

  4. Janet, Miriam & Jasia,

    It's amazing what power our loved ones have when we are children. If my mom and great aunt hadn't gone to the lengths they did to understand and to help me through that pain, I probably would have just been bitter about the whole thing and less trusting, overall.

    Here's a Holiday Toast to Family!