‘Mr. Tom’ was Santa Claus for my child

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Dear Editor,

I’m not a professional writer although I have kept journals and written down memories of my children and grandchild, and I hope when I am gone they will mean something to them. I thought this was appropriate for the Christmas season.

Several years ago, when my daughter was in high school at the beloved Andalusia High School (where she, her older brother, and her dad all graduated from), her musical drama class was planning a trip to New York City to sing on the stage at Carnegie Hall. My daughter was so thrilled at just the thought of being able to go to the “Big Apple” — not to mention singing on stage at Carnegie Hall under the direction of Mrs. Paula Sue Duebelt!

She was beside herself. There was only one problem. The trip was going to be very expensive. There were many fund-raising events planned and all students who could not afford the cost up-front worked and participated in all these events, and lots of money was donated. I had been ill and I was a divorced mother and her father paid child support and contributed to the effort — however, she would still need money for food and anything she wanted to buy for transportation around town and sightseeing and a cruise around “Lady Liberty.” So, she was still short by about $1,000.

It was Christmas and we were doing something at the parade — if my memory is correct, we were making hot chocolate at Brooks Hardware and selling hot chocolate because it was very cold. I could hear her shouting, “Mama, Mama!” and I didn’t know what had happened. She came running toward me with an envelope in her hand and said, “Look, Mama!”

Inside was a check for $1,000.

I still tear up when I think about it. It’s one of those gifts you can never repay. It made me so happy to see the joy on that child’s face and know what memories she’d have, because of a very kind gentleman who we simply knew by the name, “Mr. Tom.” He was indeed Santa Claus that year, and you know I am sure Mrs. Santa had a little something to do with that.

We love you!

P.S. Yes, Virginia, there is a Santa Claus!

Linda Sowell, and Aimee