The most powerful politician we knew was the School Board Chairman of District 460. When his 1950 Studebaker arrived at our one-room schoolhouse — towing a load of planks and concrete blocks borrowed from the Lampert Lumber Co. of Alexandria — it was a life-changing event.
We immediately started rearranging.
The biggest social event of the year in our young eyes was the annual Christmas Program, when parents and friends gathered to see eight grades of bashful children courageously recite poems, perform skits, play flutophones, sing carols and then await the arrival of Santa Claus for the equal distribution of brown bags stuffed with peanuts, ribbon candy, chocolates and a big red apple.
The tiny schoolroom barely accommodated the two dozen students enrolled during the year, but no matter. The erection of a proper stage of wooden planks on concrete piers was deemed essential. We scrambled to push and squeeze our ancient wooden desks, with their historic carvings and obsolete inkwells, into an even more efficient configuration. The new room arrangement allowed space for the stage to rise behind a magical curtain of bedsheets, wire and safety pins. It also rendered any serious study of spelling words or improper fractions impossible.
It was the most wonderful time of the year.
Last night we rearranged the family room. We faced the sectional the other way, moved a buffet table to the far end, set the chairs to face the Christmas tree and hung the wreath on the fireplace.
Up welled the same old feelings, a vague sense of anticipation. Couldn’t help thinking of Dick Williams and the beginning of the excitement.
It’s still the most wonderful time of the year.
Lorlee Bartos I remember it well. What year is that picture? Looks like Tommy Navratil in the gold shirt and Roger Williams next to him. And Sweet Mary Kluver in the green plaid. Not recognizing the others. Irene Marquette in the green in the upper photo. Love the back of the heads of the mothers and fathers. And wasn't Mr. Williams also Santa Claus?