Yes Virginia, there is a Santa Claus. And he lives next door.
Mountain Tales: First-hand stories of life in Tehachapi
February 1, 2020
When I was around 11 years old a lady moved in next door to us. I became friends with her oldest daughter, who was my age. When Christmas got close we found out they weren't going to get a tree. A single mother with three kids, times were hard.
Daddy went out and bought presents for all of them. He even bought a record player for them so the mom would get something that she could enjoy. On Christmas Eve Thrifty would sell all their display artificial trees, fully decorated, for around $5.00.
Late Christmas Eve, Daddy bought a tree. He climbed over their fence. We handed the tree over. Then we handed all the presents over. He stood the tree up outside the back door on their patio. He arranged all the presents around it and plugged in the lights. Then he quietly climbed back over to our side.
We waited on our side peeking through knotholes and between the fence boards. To speed along their discovery he rang their phone. Their phone was in the kitchen. It looked out over their back yard. After a little while the glass door slowly slid open and the mother's face popped out. It was followed very guickly by three incredibly excited children.
It was a wonderful Christmas for them and for us. They asked if it was us. We always denied it. They eventually moved without ever knowing for sure. None of us ever told.
All those years ago. They probably don't even remember us anymore, but I bet they remember that Christmas.
– Dick Johnson