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Sinterklaas just turned up at my desk, with an entourage of at least 6 Zwarte Pieten and a great big sack of Hessian, from which as if by magic, strooigoed, a speculaaspop and a chocolate letter M appeared...

It's the eve of St. Nicholas, and to us Dutch, that means presents with a capital P, and lots of traditional types of candy. This morning when they woke up, millions of children would have found the presents and candy stuffed in and put next to their shoes, which they would have put by the fire singing traditional Sinterklaas songs the night before.

When I was a child, Sinterklaas was the most exciting day of the year. All year long I would have racked my brain as to what present I would ask the Saint to bring me from Spain (where we, as children, are told he hails from)...so you can probably imagine my disappointment at one fine December morning finding that instead of the skipping rope with painted wooden handles I had coveted, there was a book lying next to my shoe.

I was 5 years old. I couldn't read. And I had wanted a skipping rope! I howled. I cried. I kicked. I cursed St. Nicholas for a rotten old man.
And then my mother, very gently, drew me onto the couch next to her, opened the book, and started to teach me my letters. So that on my first schoolday some months later, I could show Miss proudly that I could read, and write, and spell my letters!

Which means that today is the 36th anniversary of my literacy. Hurray!


( 9 Speak Like A Child — Shout To The Top )
Dec. 5th, 2003 05:31 am (UTC)
Thanks for sharing such a lovely piece of your history; it's wonderful story.
Dec. 5th, 2003 05:57 am (UTC)
You're welcome! It's one of my most cherished childhood memories, and I don't mind sharing it in the least!
Dec. 5th, 2003 06:23 am (UTC)
*exhausted proxy Sinterklaas waves at you, barely visible behind stack of presents*
Dec. 5th, 2003 06:25 am (UTC)
Oh dear, I hope the real Sinterklaas hasn't forgotten about you, and appreciates all your hard work!
Dec. 5th, 2003 10:53 am (UTC)
Um. I wish whatever I'm supposed to wish you today.

Happy literacy day!!!
Dec. 7th, 2003 04:00 am (UTC)
Dec. 11th, 2003 04:52 am (UTC)
What an occasion to celebrate... literacy! Well done, H & W, for providing a nice holiday anecdote! Sinterklaas skipped us Yanks this Dec 6, darn! But hopefully he'll make up for it Xmas eve!!! :)
Dec. 11th, 2003 04:53 am (UTC)
Sorry, I forgot to sign it...
Your friend in TX, MlleLarisa! :)
Dec. 11th, 2003 05:26 am (UTC)
Re: Ooops!
Oh, that's alright -- I'd already surmised it was you from the 'H & W' you threw in. I don't think anyone else knows my Mum's name starts with that last initial ;-)!

It's good to see you here.
( 9 Speak Like A Child — Shout To The Top )
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