From a photograph by Solomon D. Butcher of four daughters of rancher Joseph M. Chrisman, at their sod house in Custer County, Nebraska. From left to right, Harriet, Elizabeth, Lucie, and Ruth. Photographed in 1886.

Tuesday, January 02, 2007

Ghosts of Christmas Past (11)

All In The Family... Another Trip Down Memory Lane... Life in The Nebraska Sandhills...



In the early 1970's, I taught three years in a two-room school out in the Sandhills south of Newport, Nebraska -- Pony Lake District 30. I had taken the required 60 hours of college credit for teacher certification for rural schools (in those days) and returned to Rock County as a teacher. I learned then that the school Christmas program was an exciting, but exhausting and nerve-wracking event from the teacher's point of view.

Country school Christmas programThe photo at right was taken at the Christmas program of my first year there. I'm pulling the curtain, and I have the script in my hand. (I still have that little notebook into which I hand-copied everything in the program that my students and I were responsible for.) Behind me, one of the shepherds is exiting the stage. (Of course he's a shepherd: he's wearing a bathrobe.)

My parents, my sister, and my brother and his wife-to-be were all in the audience that night to give me moral support. I think my sister probably took this photo.

A few days after the Christmas program, I received a Christmas card from one of the school board members and his wife. She wrote in the card that they had enjoyed the program so much. I really felt like I had passed a test. The importance of that compliment to me is indicated by the fact that I still remember it today! In those days, the quality of the Christmas program influenced the community's opinion of the teacher -- and it was a fair assessment because the Christmas program reflected her ability to teach as well as the student's natural talents.



Related post:
Ghosts of Christmas Past (10) in which I write about some of my childhood memories of Christmas programs at Duff Valley School in Rock County, Nebraska.

Remembering Pony Lake School in which I write a bit about the current status of Pony Lake School and about the experience of teaching there in the early 1970's.


Why am I still writing about Christmas on January 2? I am a Lutheran and to Lutherans, Christmas is a season not just a day. It begins on December 25 and continues through January 5, the day before Epiphany. These are the twelve days of Christmas, referred to in the familiar Christmas song ("a partridge in a pear tree," etc.)


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2 comments:

the.chronicler said...

Nice dress! Fabulous memory.

As for Christmas ... the wonder of a newborn child certainly doesn't wear off after a day. How much more so for the Christ Child. And I understand the Magi actually found Jesus when he was a toddler; the image of their meeting has been compressed in time by the well-meaning creches.

Genevieve said...

My daughter and her little friends had a lot of fun playing dress-up in that dress. I think it's still hanging in her closet, so I guess the grandkids will enjoy it too.

And about Christmas -- you are so correct.

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CONTENTMENT: Keep your heart free from hate, your mind from worry, live simply, expect little, give much, sing often, pray always, forget self, think of others and their feelings, fill your heart with love, scatter sunshine. These are the tried links in the golden chain of contentment.
(Author unknown)

IT IS STILL BEST to be honest and truthful; to make the most of what we have; to be happy with simple pleasure; and to be cheerful and have courage when things go wrong.
(Laura Ingalls Wilder, 1867-1957)

Thanks for reading.