The Commissary Santa Claus
by Frances Coffey

November hailed the Christmas season with the arrival of the annual toy sale. In Balboa, the Commissary selected a large warehouse to display the toys. The warehouse was in back of the main store.  The weekly Commissary bulletin arrived with the news of when the toy sale could be viewed.  This was always on a Sunday and the sale began the next day.  On the Sunday showing, we kids rushed to the toy sale with long lists and pencils in case some new items were discovered. We also had to give some direction to out parents so they could find what we wanted; the warehouse was very large.  Sandy Claus was at the Sunday viewing and we pulled his beard to see if it was real. I always headed first for the dolls.  The dolls had to be examined very carefully to be sure they were dressed properly; we had to look under the skirts to approve of the underwear.  One year, my parents had a new dress made for an old doll for me and I was disappointed; you were supposed to get a new doll for Christmas. Another disappointment was when I had my heart set on a doll set of dishes painted gold.  My mother hunted all over the store, but could not find them.

The above was when I was growing up. In later years, shoppers turned to Sears and Roebuck who shipped in large sea containers.  During the Second World War, few things got through.  One amazing year, the Margarita Post Office opened on Christmas Day and delivered much waited for bicycles.

My first bike was called a stream liner after the new stream liner trains. It had balloon tires and was very hard to ride on those tires.

My daughter's favorite Christmas was when she found a note saying that there was a horse waiting for her under a tree outside the house who wanted a home and would she keep it?

My son's favorite Christmas was when he found a "real piano" next to the tree; he had been wanting a piano for some time.

Christmas is coming, hooray, hooray.

P.S.  The day after Thanksgiving you can wear your fur coats, but no white shoes or clothes after labor day.

December 2004