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MY CHRISTMAS AT THE CHAPEL
by Joyce Maxey
(circa November 2000)

The very first Christmas at the Chapel was when I was three years old and the Church was illuminated like a large, fiery Christmas tree inside. I thought it was the most beautiful thing I had ever seen. The memory I remember most involves all the 'big' people who were standing on the stage in the front of the Church whom I could hardly see, but could so eloquently hear. They sounded of angels to me, I even asked my mother if they were angels and she replied that she definitely thought they were. I am referring to the choir of course.

Next, we were invited to sing Silent Night, along with the choir, and many of the same songs we sing at the Chapel to this day. The last song was Jingle Bells and Santa Claus came in saying "HO, HO, HO" and holding his stomach. He sat in the front so all the children were able to travel up the steps on one side of the stage and take turns sitting on Santa's lap informing him what they wanted for Christmas. To this day, I think Mrs. Combs must have been taking notes. Then Santa gave the kids a big bag of goodies, which was quite a surprise. I remember the excitement I felt.

Each year seemed to be even better than the prior Christmas at the Church. However, by the time I was five years old I wanted to make sure that Santa was real. So, I sat on his lap and pulled as hard as I could on his beard and he screamed so loud, it scared me to death. I knew from then on that Santa was real, and so was his beard. I also never pulled on any more of Santa's beards.

When Christmas morning came we would receive this large box of clothes for all four children (the fifth child, my baby sister, was still an infant). My favorite piece of clothing was a snowsuit; it was fuchsia pink with hand muffs and black elastic to wrap around your shoes, so your legs wouldn't get cold. I could still wear my beautiful snowsuit when the next winter came around and I was then six years old. This is when I started to school and thanks to the snowsuit, I stayed very warm walking to Rockford School all winter long.

I also remember always wanting to know where Mrs. Combs sat in Church, just so I could get a glimpse of her was a big thrill. I guess we all thought she was so special because she was a very giving person to everyone on Longview Farm. It was like you could always find her because of her big, brimmed hats she wore. Most of all, the bell that rang for services and special events will never leave my memories, especially since it sounded like the whole world was shaking me...

Note: This memory was shared at our 85th Celebration in November 2000 as one of those from our longest attending members.

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