I have one vivid memory having to do with Candy Canes. When I was in 1st grade we did some kind of Christmas grab bag, (yes back in the olden days they actually referred to this holiday by its real name…go figure?). I think it was maybe like a $5.00 limit. My mom asked me what I wanted to get for my person…I had no idea and then it came to me. I remember looking at her and saying “Candy Canes, because both boys and girls like Candy Canes”. So we went to our local drug store…you know the kind with a big candy display and cute little gifts like paddle balls, shiny plastic rings with fake diamonds and Baseball Cards with bubble gum. My mother patiently and maybe not so patiently tried to persuade me to buy this set of cute little snowmen erasers. I was not having any of it…Candy Canes it would be or she would see one of the most embarrassing temper tantrums ever. Umm…I could be very determined. She got me a giant box of Candy Canes….
When we had our Christmas School Party each child picked a number and whoever had your matching number was your person. She started with the number 1 pair. The pair of kids counted to three and opened them and then thanked their partner for the gift. I saw coloring books, scented markers, sparkle super balls but no candy. My hands started to sweat. Was this why my mom didn’t want me to give Candy Canes? No candy allowed? When it was my turn I carried my beautiful wrapped gift with a gold bow to the front…we counted to three and opened our gifts. I thanked her for my bubble bath and went and sat down. That was when I glanced around and saw all the kids with their mouths open. She just stood there looking at this box of candy canes like she had just hit the lottery. The teacher actually had to tell her to go and sit down.
Immediately children tried trading their gifts for the candy canes. It never occurred to me to look at the teacher but I have a strange feeling she wasn’t feelin’ the candy canes like the rest of the class. When I got home I told my mother that I had given the best gift and everyone wanted to trade for it. She looked at me and said “I don’t believe you”. Now, I look back on this and laugh but at the time I couldn’t understand why she didn’t believe me. So funny the things you remember.
I feel really bad for what those children witnessed in Newtown, CT. This will follow them forever no matter how much counseling they receive. I pray they can over come these memories and not let it haunt them or affect their future. Those survivors have just become national treasures. The media will revisit both the victims and the survivors each year. We will get to watch this class of first graders grow up. I don’t think that is fair at all, it should not define who they are or who they will become. America is not going to let them forget…I will continue to send them all prayers for comfort and peace.