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I love, I laugh; as a mother, a girlfriend, a daughter, a sibling, a friend. I change. I volunteer. I make a difference. I make things happen. I get lazy; then way to high strung. I stay up all night, and pay the next day. I piss people off. I make people love. I believe in fate. and karma. I laugh at myself. I've even been called an "angel"... more than once. I've been rocked to my core by angels among us. I am a journalist for our small town newspapers, including the Muskego Chronicle, the Hales Corners Citizen, and the Franklin Citizen; I love writing for our chicken-soup-for-the-small-town-soul publications! I am right where I want to be. I am 34, and proud of my age (every birthday is another gift); the greatest thing I have done is contribute the beauty that my clone-like daughter Sophia has to offer. She is my legacy. I am a total mama’s girl; always have been, always will be. I have a Black-Irish bond (unbreakable) with my siblings. I am comfortable in my own skin. I have never been insecure, not once. I love people; but prefer kids to adults. I am not the least bit judgmental; but can hold a grudge to my grave. I follow my heart more than my head. Intentionally.

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

“Yes, Virginia…”

With a name like Noelle, one would assume the Christmas spirit is a birthright; which couldn’t be furthest from my typical reality. I personally feel the season has been swallowed by corporate America, and somewhat of a hallmark-holiday-cliché. Point being, as adults, we tend to lose sight of what the season is supposed to be about; A time we should be focused on family and friends; and blinded by the sparkle of the children’s eyes; that by far outshines the brightness of all the holiday lights.

Reflect upon your own childhood memories of Christmas morning; you may not be able to recall exactly what the pretty paper and ribbons revealed, in the thirty seconds it took to tear open your anticipation. But chances are, the emotions surrounding the magic moments is readily available in your minds eye. If that doesn’t serve as proof that the numbers on a price tag are, for the most part; irrelevant, I don’t know what will.

It was this time last year, I was on assignment for the first Christmas edition of the Muskego Chronicle, and a very special group of children helped locate and light my inner Christmas spirit; and ironically it is the same newspaper and a similar situation that scared off my scrooge once again.

There is nothing like the excitement of a child on Christmas. Sometimes it just takes something or someone to remind you; and I found twenty-six ‘somebody’s’ right here in Muskego, to remind all of us, and lend a whole bunch of holiday cheer. It is my pleasure to gift their blessing and belief, to all the readers in our community. The story starts with a letter most are familiar with…

To The New York Sun,
I am 8 years old. Some of my little friends say there is no Santa Claus. Papa says, “If you see it in the sun, it is so.” Please tell me the truth. Is there a Santa Claus?
Virginia O’Hanlon, 1898

Virginia O’Hanlon’s letter to the NY Sun has become one of the most widely celebrated editorials in newspaper history.

Twenty-six Bay lane Middle School students, from Mr. Hulbert’s fifth grade, published a book compiled of individual entries written in response to this famous letter, as if they were editors from a big city newspaper. The book was sent home with every student for all to enjoy, and bask in the wonderment of childhood at this magical time of year.

The following is a menagerie of the correspondence, combined as one letter to Virginia, with something from every child; each sentence is from a different youngster. And the sincerity of these children will persuade even the nastiest of skeptical scrooges and Christmastime cynics; until they too, say out loud; “He really does exist!”

It is printed exactly how the young writers wrote them; no grammatical corrections have been made; as this certainly adds a little more magic and conviction to their words.

The guest editorial writers for the Muskego Chronicle answered;

Yes, Virginia, he is real; do not believe your little friends Virginia…
Your little friends that aren’t so nice are really wrong. I guess you can’t prove there is a Santa, but your friends can’t prove there is not a Santa. Everyone has the right to believe what they want, but don’t let others fool you into not believing. Your friends might be less fortunate than you and because of that they don’t believe. There is a lot of stuff in life where you don’t know what to think or believe but you have to trust yourself sometimes. Without magic in your heart, it won’t be the most wonderful time of year! So don’t worry about what other kids have to say. Tell them to tell their parents to stop putting presents under the tree. Then they’ll see what happens. He is as real as the snow; or the teacher in your school. He is as real as you and me. I was little and I believed in him and I still do. I saw him before, but I didn’t have a camera. You can never make a disbeliever out of me! I heard a story about a little boy (who is now a man) had a life like yours, and all his friends and classmates said Santa wasn’t real; but he saw him and wanted to scream in joy! Think about this…
You have seen black and white Christmas moves, right? If he is in the movies he must be real. Who would want to play an imaginary person?
Once he even left one of his red gloves in my house.
Just because you can’t see something doesn’t mean it’s not real. How does his reindeer fly? Magic right? So that’s why you can’t hear or see him and if you try he won’t come next time. And if you don’t believe strong enough he won’t come. I know a kid that once got a lump of coal; he is not very nice, so it must be true.
Do you think your parents would lie about such a thing?
Who eats all the cookies and drinks all the milk? Have you ever seen a present that says ‘To; Virginia, from; Santa Claus’, and you don’t recognize the writing? If you have a chimney, do your parents slide down it or does Santa? And He still manages to do it all in the same night; no one else could do that!
See, I told you there was a Santa!
Don’t listen to those kids, listen to your heart. Santa will always, always watch over you no matter what.
Make sure you put out milk and cookies for Santa Claus and carrots for his reindeer.
Never for get that he is real, and will always be a part of you forever. I told you the facts and gave you the reasons, now it’s up to you, I believe, do you? Make a good choice; live well, dream big!
Yes Virginia, there is ‘such things as Santa claws!’

Merry Christmas and happy New Year!

Mr. Hulbert’s fifth grade students

“No Santa Claus? Thank God he lives and lives forever. A thousand years from now, Virginia, nay 10 times 10,000 years from now, he will continue to make glad the heart of childhood.” (Written by, Francis P. Church, in his original response to Virginia O’Hanlon, printed in the New York Sun, 1897)

The fifth graders have made a believer out of me. A gift that is priceless, and quite legendary. So proceeding with cheerful Christmas spirit; and a name that is a synonym for December 25th; merry Christmas to all, and to all a good night!
Sincerely, Noelle Lorraine

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