When I was 5 years old Santa Claus was a big factor in my life in December. In the absence of Television, nosy neighbors, and siblings close to my age I retained my total belief in Santa Claus as a gift deliverer. At that time our house was not quite large enough for everyone to have their own bedroom so I was assigned to sleep on a small bed located in the large hall so common in homes of the early 20th Century. Now this was not just a narrow passage through the house but in fact a rather wide open area (to a 5 year old) that could be entered from almost every room in the house so was quite active during times when we had company. This Christmas the family was gathered at our house. My oldest Sister was recently married so her and her husband were there as well as my two other siblings (one brother and one sister) to enjoy Christmas Eve with family as was tradition. As the baby of the family I was or tried to be the center of attention. Without TV to distract us and numb our minds we were all involved in conversation and enjoyed being together. But as I was the baby I was of course expected to retire early to fall asleep so Santa could come and visit me and the others. Back to the Hall Bedroom situation. Since we were all together and I was restless waiting for Santa it was decided I should be put in my parent’s bedroom so I could calm down and sleep before they would carry me to my hall bedroom when everyone else retired.
I was told to go to my parent’s bedroom and reluctantly I agreed, after some awful whining. When I entered the bedroom I was somewhat surprised to find a cowboy suit and dual six guns arranged on the bed that were exactly the ones I had asked Santa for and were in my size. Initially I was amazed at my good fortune, knowing I would soon have two cowboy suits, one from Santa and one apparently from my parents. As I dressed in the suit off the bed I began to ponder this really strange turn of events and it gradually dawned on me why the suit was there. Needless to say my belief in Santa was staggered as I realized what was happening. About that time my mother, realizing the mistake in sending me to her bedroom, ran in but my childhood fantasy was already wrecked. The distraught look on her face was actually frightening to a child and certainly unforgettable. I believe this was the end of the fairy tales for me. In retrospect, this was when I began to develop the cynicism that is the mainstay of my personality today. Loving parents and family made that evening a positive life lesson so in the end this was a good event