By Willard Boschman – Saskatoon, Sask.
On Dec. 24, 1946, my brother Arnold was 11 years old, Marvin was 10, I was eight, my sister Lola was four, and James was two. We lived at a country school called Neuhoffnung where my dad, John, was the teacher. This school was seven miles south of Langham and about 15 miles west of Saskatoon.
The schoolyard consisted of the two-room school, a teacherage (house) where we lived, three barns for the school kids to stable their horses, and of course, two outhouses – one for boys and one for girls.
We had a horse named Pat and a cow named Popeye (she only had one eye). These animals were stabled in one of the school barns.
Christmas Eve found all us kids in bed upstairs (in the same room) by about 11 p.m., which was very late for us, but due to all the excitement, it was hard to get sleepy at the usual time.
Around midnight or later we were awakened by strange noises and when we finally came out of the fogginess of deep sleep, there was Santa Claus right in our bedroom.
He turned and waived to the window
My Mom, Edith, was also there. Santa waltzed around the room a few times, did some Ho-Ho-Ho-ing, asked us if we had been good boys and girls. He wished us a Merry Christmas, gave mom a big hug and a kiss, and he was gone.
We were back under the covers, basking in the glow of what had just happened when we heard bells ringing and more Ho-Ho-Ho-ing outside. We all rushed to the one window and there was Santa leaving the yard driving Pat hitched to the stoneboat and a huge bag beside him.
He turned and waved to the window and disappeared into the night. Arnold and Marvin may have inwardly known who Santa was, but Lola, James, and I really believed.
I often think back to that night and marvel at all the effort dad put into that late night escapade. Just imagine having to harness and later unharness and put away the horse, finding and donning the Santa Claus suit, finding and stuffing a huge bag with ‘gifts,’ bells ringing somehow loud enough to get us to the window!
It was truly a magical Christmas that year.