When Grandpa John Was a Kid - Where Storytelling Began

My daughter Mary Kim edits my stories to make them more readable for you. After editing a group of Grandpa stories, she asked about the story I told her as a child about the Christmas time when I was five.

First let me tell you about my storytelling daddy, so you’ll better understand why I told stories to my children. When I was five, I would ask my daddy to tell me my favorite story about the time when he was a boy.

I would sit beside him on the sofa, and he would begin, "When I was boy about your age, I left my uncle’s farm on my pony to ride to my farm close by. The sun had set, and the dusk was darkening. Just across a little bridge, my pony was spooked and threw me off breaking my arm. My arm really hurt, and I was scared as I wondered if anybody would find me in the dark."

At this point, I would softly cry just like I had every other time Daddy told this story, even though I knew there was a happy ending.

My daddy would continue, "When my daddy soon arrived, he told me that he had set out to find me since it was getting dark."

I would snuggle close to Daddy as he told about his daddy gently carrying him home and then to the doctor’s.

And now for the Christmas time story that Mary Kim asked about. I was five, my sister Harriette was almost four, and my brother Wallace was six. My daddy had been telling us on the days preceding Christmas that Santa’s helpers sometimes showed toys at the window so the children would know what he had in his bag.

On this particular evening, Daddy left the house saying he was going to the drug store on the corner. After five or ten minutes, there was a scratching on the front screen and a hand slowly waving a doll.

Harriette fled crying into Mother’s arms. Wide-eyed, Wallace and I studied all that was happening, but said nothing. Sharing a double bed in a two bedroom house, we talked about the doll and the hand holding it. We agreed that we had seen Daddy’s dark gray suit sleeve. We decided not to say anything because we thought it best to believe in Santa despite the evidence to the contrary on this evening.

Before next Christmas, I asked Mother about Santa Claus. She was so honest that she kindly told me the truth. I likely spoiled another year of happy make-believe for Harriette by telling her.

Copyright 1998 by John C. Westervelt

Return to Table of Contents