Saturday, December 13, 2008
My own Virginia
Current mood: Loved
I have had the pleasure and joy of having my very own Virginia in my life and every year she has faithfully (and at my request) read me the letter "Yes Virgina, there is a Santa Claus". After an evening of watching Christmas specials I am moved to share my most cherished Christmas memory with you. My own Virginia is my grandmother and it was always almost magical that this letter was about another Virginia. It made me feel very special and proud to have a Virginia of my own in my life and her love and influence has touched me everyday. She even gave me my middle name which was her first daughter's middle name- Sandy Luann. Sandy died when she was 17 so I have always been proud to carry her name and have tried to be as good a grand-daughter as she was a daughter.
My Grandma didn't just share this story with my family. For many years she was a Foster Grandma for the kindergartner classes at United School. Every year, ever new class she would tell the story and would add her own spin to it, hey it was her right- she had the name to do it! I have often wondered if any of those kids grew up with a special place in their heart for that story because of how my Grandma would tell it with such love and animation.
I hope she will always know that there will never be a Christmas as long as I live that I won't read this letter at Christmas and be very very grateful and filled with love for the wonderful Virginia I got to have in my life and am even more honored to have this year.
I love you Grandma sooooo much. Thanks for being MY Virginia!!
Eight-year-old Virginia O'Hanlon wrote a letter to the editor of New York's Sun, and the quick response was printed as an unsigned editorial Sept. 21, 1897. The work of veteran newsman Francis Pharcellus Church has since become history's most reprinted newspaper editorial, appearing in part or whole in dozens of languages in books, movies, and other editorials, and on posters and stamps.
"DEAR EDITOR: I am 8 years old. "Some of my little friends say there is no Santa Claus. "Papa says, 'If you see it in THE SUN it's so.' "Please tell me the truth; is there a Santa Claus?"
VIRGINIA O'HANLON."115 WEST NINETY-FIFTH STREET."
VIRGINIA, your little friends are wrong. They have been affected by the skepticism of a skeptical age. They do not believe except [what] they see. They think that nothing can be which is not comprehensible by their little minds. All minds, Virginia, whether they be men's or children's, are little. In this great universe of ours man is a mere insect, an ant, in his intellect, as compared with the boundless world about him, as measured by the intelligence capable of grasping the whole of truth and knowledge.
Yes, VIRGINIA, there is a Santa Claus. He exists as certainly as love and generosity and devotion exist, and you know that they abound and give to your life its highest beauty and joy. Alas! how dreary would be the world if there were no Santa Claus. It would be as dreary as if there were no VIRGINIAS. There would be no childlike faith then, no poetry, no romance to make tolerable this existence. We should have no enjoyment, except in sense and sight. The eternal light with which childhood fills the world would be extinguished.
Not believe in Santa Claus! You might as well not believe in fairies! You might get your papa to hire men to watch in all the chimneys on Christmas Eve to catch Santa Claus, but even if they did not see Santa Claus coming down, what would that prove? Nobody sees Santa Claus, but that is no sign that there is no Santa Claus. The most real things in the world are those that neither children nor men can see. Did you ever see fairies dancing on the lawn? Of course not, but that's no proof that they are not there. Nobody can conceive or imagine all the wonders there are unseen and unseeable in the world.You may tear apart the baby's rattle and see what makes the noise inside, but there is a veil covering the unseen world which not the strongest man, nor even the united strength of all the strongest men that ever lived, could tear apart. Only faith, fancy, poetry, love, romance, can push aside that curtain and view and picture the supernal beauty and glory beyond. Is it all real? Ah, VIRGINIA, in all this world there is nothing else real and abiding.
No Santa Claus! Thank God! he lives, and he lives forever. A thousand years from now, Virginia,
nay, ten times ten thousand years from now, he will continue to make glad the heart of childhood.