Ray Healey Getting Ready to Blast the Aliens.

My Best Christmas Ever

Dr. Ray Healey

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My Dad, aka Santa Claus, Started with the Martinis

By: Ray Healey

When I was five years old, in December of 1953, my parents staged a Christmas bonanza for me and my brother Todd (3), which was a memorable event in our young lives.

Santa Claus came to town in a big way.

[This story is one chapter in a memoir I am writing — “Growing Up in the Healey Clan: Playing Sports in Parks and Clubs in Upper Montclair — which I will be publishing serially on Medium.]

Todd and I were living with our parents, Dr. Ray Healey Sr. and Eleanor Claire Healey, in a small house on Grove St. in Montclair, NJ, and we were very excited about the upcoming visit of Santa, which we hoped would bring us “a sleighful full of toys,” as the famous story had promised.

To put things in perspective I think this was the last Christmas that I was a true believer, that I actually believed in Santa Claus,

Todd and I went through the whole ritual: we drafted our Christmas wish list letters to Santa Claus, addressed them to him at the North Pole, put stamps on the envelopes, and dropped them in the mailbox.

I even got a lesson in The Nativity, gazing at a creche which had been created by my Mother, who was not only an aspiring American Literature professor — but also a part-time artist who did oil painting as well as some pottery, which produced the figures depicted.

Ray Learns about Baby Jesus. Photo by E. Claire Healey.

In our letters we told Santa Claus what we wanted: In my case, here were a few things on my wish list: 1) A Palomino horse, just like the steed, Trigger, that Roy Rogers rode; (now this was clearly a long shot, given the nature of our suburban neighborhood, but, hey, a boy could dream).

Roy Rogers on Trigger.

2) Since I was also a big fan of King Arthur and The Knights of the Round Table (thanks to my mother’s reading me this story, as well as my favorite book, A Pageboy for King Arthur )…

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Dr. Ray Healey

English Lit. Professor. Novelist and short story writer. Adventurer: Pamplona Bull Running, Boston Marathon, "Deliverance" River Running, Cross Country Bike,…