During the Great Depression, before Christmas in about 1939, my grandparents had gone out. They were attempting to negotiate a lower price on a tricycle that they wanted to buy for my fathers younger brother for Christmas. Like a lot of people at that time, they didn’t have a lot of money. My Dad was babysitting for his younger siblings while his folks were shopping.

The doorbell rang and when my father opened the door, a man asked if this was the Schmitt residence. After being told that it was, the man stated that he had a delivery for them, and proceeded to deliver what my father remembers as being all of the presents that they had put on their lists. When everything was inside, my father asked, “Who shall I say sent this?” The man answered, simply, “Santa Claus.”

My grandfather was a civil engineer, not on a project at the time, and the only guess that my grandparents could make was that when he was on a project he had done something to help somebody else and that this was someones way of saying, “Thank you.”

My grandfather died in 1973 and my grandmother died in 1995. Both died without ever having learned the identity of the 1939 Santa.

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