As told by Betty
Ann Barr Boilesen
As Christmas Eve
unfolded when I was seven years of age, it would be a Christmas
that would have a story that I would share with family and friends
for many years to come.
The snow was gently
falling as we gathered for Christmas Eve at cousin Sara and
Fred's house in the small town of Elba, Nebraska. Each year
we would gather there for our traditional Swedish dinner of
ludfiske gravy over mashed potatoes and a festive lingonberry
I can picture my
mother Anna and my father Manley; my sister Fay and her husband
Andus and my niece Marjorie, age four; Sara, Fred and their
teenage children Willie and Elsie sitting at the long dining
room table. Marjorie and I would sit next to each other as we
were the best of friends.
Marjorie and Betty Ann
Just before bedtime
we hung out stockings on the chairs in the parlor for Santa
to fill. We would then go to the kitchen cupboard to get a plate
of cookies and to the icebox for a glass of mil. We had to give
Santa his treat. After placing the cookies on the table we were
wisked off to bed.
I can remember that
night so well laying in my bed unable to go to sleep. Visions
went through my head as to what Santa might leave for me. I
had been such a good girl. I was sure my stocking would have
something very special in it!
Finally, I drifted
off to sleep but only to awake in the wee morning hours. Quietly,
I opened the bedroom door and tiptoed into the parlor to see
if Santa had arrived. Sure enough, he had eaten all of the cookies
and filled the stockings!
As I looked at the
stockings my heart sunk....I went to mine and there was a little
girl doll on my chair. Then I looked at Marjorie's chair and
Santa had given her the most beautiful baby doll I had ever
seen. Oh, I thought, I don't want a little girl doll, I want
a baby doll. I was so sad. Didn't Santa realize that I wanted
the baby doll? Well, I can fix that, I thought. Santa just made
a mistake. So I took the little girl doll on the my chair and
placed it on Marjorie's chair. Then, I took the baby doll and
placed it on my chair and tiptoed back to bed.
When daylight finally
came on that Christmas morning so many years ago I can just
picture myself ready to go to my stocking and chair and pick
up that baby doll and hug it. Oh, I loved that doll. As I entered
the room I can remember my mother and sister Fay looking at
each other in wonderment, as if to say what happened here? I
was sure they would just let it pass. They must have been thinking,
did they make the mistake? They never, never said a word about
the switch but explained to us that Santa must have gotten the
dolls mixed up and put the baby doll on the wrong chair. So
Marjorie got the baby doll after all. I was very disappointed,
for I wanted that baby doll so much on that Christmas morning.
The next Christmas,
Santa remembered my disappointment and left me a beautiful baby
doll. I named her Beverly.
Almost 25 years later Santa
and Beverly show up at another Christmas...this time not as
a doll but as a daughter.