Annual Chrsitmas gift exchange
The most anticipated highlight of my grade school years was the annual Chrsitmas gift exchange. Heart reaced as our small hands reached into the box that held the names of every student written on small strips of paper. Our hope was to draw the name of our best friend or to have our best friend draw our name. Sometimes we traded names, and we were not above bribery to obtain the name of a special friend. No matter how many people I asked, I was unable to discover who had drawn my name my fifth grade year. I hounded all my friends, but even with their help, it was hopeless. No one was telling. The final December day of school dawned upon a fresh snowfall, a ferfect setting for our Christmas party. The cookies and kool-aid provided by room mothers were the appropriate colors of Christmas., I don’t remmber who was appointed to distribute gifts, but I could hardly wait to discover what my wonderful gift would be and who would be the giver. When the square package was placed on my desk, I had to swallow a lump of disappointment from the gift wrapping, I was fairly certain that it wasn’t wrapped by a girl. Squeals of delight, laughter and gaiety filled the room around me. Carefully I pulled the tape from the wrapped paper, prolonging the suspense as long a possible. The box inside was unremarkable, white with no lettering. I opened the lid and tried to keep my face from registering the dismay I felt. It was a small, mantle-clock-shaped bank with a coin slot large enough to accommodate a fifty-cent piece. I will never forget Johnny, the fifty grade classmate who gave me a memorable gift, a red clock bank with black numerals, a silver back and hands.
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