Country school Christmas programs were a big deal and still are where country schools still exist. That’s why preparing for the Christmas program plays a major role in See Jane Sing! In fact, the progress of the program is a device I use to drive the story’s sense of urgency. Jane wants to solve mystery before the Christmas program as the morning after the big show she will go to her parents’ home in Iowa for Christmas break.
But enough about that.
The purpose of this post is to focus on the Mr. and Mrs. Santa costumes in the above picture. But first, a word about the amazingly adorable models, Shawn Burghduff and Mary Philippe, who were third graders when they nabbed their starring roles in that year’s program. The picture evokes equal parts joy and sorrow when I see it. Joy to have been their teacher for three years and sorrow over Shawn’s death due to a freak illness when he was not yet thirty. When See Jane Run! is released, it will be dedicated to him.
Give me a minute to stop crying.
Okay, I’m back with some fun facts about the Mr. and Mrs. Santa costumes.
- I made the costumes. Except for Mrs. Claus’s striped apron and Mr. Claus’s black belt. Their parents supplied those.
- When we moved to Iowa, the music teacher borrowed the costumes every year for the third grade Christmas program.
- Before the first borrow, I made a white, ruffled apron and matching mob cap for Mrs. Santa.
- My daughter wanted to be Mrs. Santa Claus for Halloween when she was in second grade. I bought granny glasses, washed and ironed the costume, and boom, it was ready. She was adorable, and my propensity to save costumes was vindicated.
- I still have the costumes. They’re too big for my grandkids, ages 2 and 4, but that doesn’t stop them from playing dress up in them.
- Every time the costumes come out, I think of Shawn and cry happy tears.
Give me another minute to find a tissue.
Okay, I’m back with one last observation related to fictionalized scenes about country school Christmas programs. They take me a long time to write and use a lot of tissues.
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