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The Christmas I remember so distinctly was the Christmas of the winter of 1959 to 1960. Hanne and Arthur Williams were our teachers and very fine teachers, too, though we did not know it. It was to be their last year with us kids at the old Fayston School.
The Christmas I remember so distinctly was the Christmas of the
winter of 1959 to 1960. Hanne and Arthur Williams were our teachers and
very fine teachers, too, though we did not know it. It was to be their
last year with us kids at the old Fayston School.
They went all out for us kids that Christmas and we all made a special effort to put on a Christmas pageant. We had two trees, one for downstairs and a big one that was placed by the old kitchen exit upstairs. We had electric, colored lights -- not like today's lights. We made angels, snowflakes and garland chains of crepe paper. We made popcorn tinsel that made the 15-foot white spruce tree look great.
The program was of the first Christmas. But somewhere we needed the school bell to ring in the play. It had flopped over from over-tolling and someone had to climb up in to the access hole and get to the belfry and right the bell. We had it working for the program. We were always coming and going during all this time between activities and class.
Also during this time, I had to watch my step with big Arthur Williams. He seemed big when you are an 8-year-old boy. Back in mid-October I had stomped into the lower classroom during an afternoon recess to complain to Mr. Williams that the other kids weren't playing fair with me. My rude interruption between him and another gentleman did not help my plea. Mr. Williams told me firmly that he could not help me now; he was busy talking to the man.
In disgust I turned and stomped out towards the door muttering that no one cared about my problems. With the authority as my teacher and an angry father, he grabbed me by the scruff of my shirt and the seat of my britches and flew me through the air to my school seat. He scared the heck out of me. He told me to sit there and be quiet until recess was over. I sat there crying and sulking as a little boy would. From then on I watched my step with Mr. Williams so not to get him angry at me.
We had a very memorable Christmas. I loved the maple-flavored popcorn balls and a few presents. But what I loved the most to this day was Arthur Williams, who in a loving, fatherly way taught me how to grow up and be a man. I love him like a father and wish he was my father.
Arthur and Hanne Williams gave me more than a good Christmas time; they showed me and the rest of us kids how to go through life like them -- with our heads held high and caring for others around us.
That old Christmas of 1959 was so long ago but it seems just like yesterday. We won't be around forever, so make the most of the season and of life. Don't worry about what you'll get, but what you can give to others at Christmas.
To all a Merry Christmas.
Gregg Viens lives in North Fayston.