In her first letter to the North Pole in many years, columnist Loretta Laroche asks Santa to make deliveries of kindness, compassion, love, understanding, joy and peace.
Dear Santa, I haven’t written you for a long time. When I did write, you didn’t disappoint me. I didn’t ask for much because I came from an era where “too much” wasn’t even part of the culture. Everyone I knew simply yearned for shelter, food, clothing and good health.
My grandparents and my mother and father had weathered the depression and World War II. There was no money left over for extras. Their goal was to keep moving forward. And they did that as a group, since we all lived together in a brownstone in Brooklyn. I loved my home with its big kitchen and the delicious smells that constantly wafted through the house. Onions, garlic sautéing as the beginnings of my grandmothers’ “little red sauce.” I never really had to have a particular toy, since there were no ads to seduce kids and their parents into believing they were necessary in order for their children to be happy.
I thought making little loaves of bread and helping my grandfather make a cradle for my doll was the best. In fact, my doll was handmade, too. I learned how to make dresses for her. Grandma Francesca was an incredible seamstress, and she would sit with me for hours teaching me how to knit, crochet and mend socks. No one threw out socks. Actually, no one threw anything out.
My mom did take me to see you at Macy’s when she had a day off from work. And, I dutifully sat on your lap and had my picture taken. But when you asked me what I wanted for Christmas I didn’t know what to say, because I really had everything I needed except for a little red wagon to carry my doll around in. One of the kids in the neighborhood had one, and I fell in love with it. So that was my request. I backed it up with a letter my mother sent you.
Christmas morning I ran into the living room and there was my American Flyer red wagon. My mother said she thought I was going to have a heart attack from too much excitement. So, thank you, Santa, and please do me a favor. I know you have a lot of gifts to deliver, but, please, this year can you deliver kindness and compassion to those who need it, love and understanding to those who yearn for it, and joy and peace to everyone in the world?
And – if possible – leave a red clown nose in everyone’s home so we can all be more lighthearted.