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Mother of the Grinch, grandma of the Sasquatch

It’s the week for Christmas concerts in schools across the area, and a time when I think back at all the concerts our kids and later our grandkids and great-grandkids were in over the years.
It’s the week for Christmas concerts in schools across the area, and a time when I think back at all the concerts our kids and later our grandkids and great-grandkids were in over the years.

Oh, the people and characters they’ve been over the years! Some were much more prominent than others, and I can’t even count how many Christmas trees and Suzy Snowflakes there have been in that lineup.

There has been a Grinch, back in what I thought were the early years of the Grinch, but now I find out that he first appeared in 1957 when the Dr. Seuss book was published. Our Grinch didn’t hit the stage for another 16 or 17 years, but last spring, one of our great-granddaughters was another character from that book - the wife of the Mayor of Whoville.

There have been reindeer, including one who I believe was Rudolph twice, in different schools. Thank goodness for my sister, who not only sent me a costume adaptable from bear to deer, but also the costume pattern, which once dressed a whole family of mice, one of them our own Squeaknibble.

There was a Ukrainian Cossack dancer once, who I am very sure does not remember how to do those kicks, but may remember wearing the voluminous red pants of the costume, which thankfully we were able to borrow for the occasion.

I haven’t had to make any Christmas concert costumes lately, but about 15 years ago I did loan my white military surplus snowboots to a very friendly Sasquatch, who I recall telling the formerly terrified townsfolk in that play that he was “just cold, not scary, and you can just call me ‘Squatch.”

When I went to school, and when our kids went to school, Christmas concerts were held in the evening, and while those at the school both I and our kids once attended were only two or two-and-a-half hours long, I recall those in our kids’ elementary and junior high years in St. Paul being much longer. While both schools had students from Grade 1 to Grade 9, the difference in concert length would be that the school down south was all rural kids except for the grain elevator man’s daughter, and the one in St. Paul had both town and country students.

Concerts here in Elk Point have been in pairs for many years, and have always been during school hours. A more recent change is that originally, the Wednesday and Thursday concerts involved different classes and were totally different, and now they are the same concert with the same cast of students, except for the Kindergarten gang, with KA performing one day and KB the next. I have one big advantage over all the other concertgoers – the Elk Point Elementary staff kindly save me a chair in the front row. It’s a far cry from sitting way back in the crowd to watch my kids perform, or as my parents did to watch me.

I don’t recall too much about those concerts of the late 1950s. I was in choral or recitation groups all but my final year, when I was an old Irish grandmother, with grey hair, spectacles, housedress and sensible shoes, part of a rather bizarre family whose daughter and her husband were going through the chaos of building a dream house. I can’t even repeat the final line of the play now, because it would no longer be politically correct to do so, but it had to do with the sanity of the whole family.

Every bit as memorable to me from that concert was a duet sung by one of my classmates and her sister, whose last name, oddly enough, was ‘Santa’, something that brought them a lot of snickers and snide comments at that time of year. There was no snickering at the concert, though, when the Santa sisters sang ‘Silver Bells’, just a wave of appreciative applause. It’s hard to believe that was 60 years ago. The good memories definitely do last.

I’m not sure if the Grinch, Squeaknibble and the ‘Squatch remember the good times they had in concerts back then, but I do. Thanks for more great memories!