Thursday, December 18, 2008

Sibling Assignment #84: Silver King Silver Bells

InlandEmpireGirl decided to get us siblings thinking about Christmas songs and gave us this assignment:
When we hear certain songs they take us back to a time and place in our past and stir up memories. Pick a Christmas song and reflect on the time and place it takes you.
InlandEmpireGirl recalls "White Christmas, here and Silver Valley Girl remembers "A Christmas Song" here.

If someone had had a documentary film camera at the Silver King gymnasium in December, 1960, I don't know if the celluloid footage would be very much like the movie, shot that night, that has played in my mind over the last forty years.

I know a few things. About a year and a half I wrote, here, about playing Santa Claus in the 1960 pageant. I know our family ate at the Sunshine Inn before the pageant. I know that we all got paper bags with hard candy. I know the Christmas program was in the Silver King Elementary School gymnasium. I know Ron Jacobs and I drove up to Silver King this past September and the school's been razed and removed.

But, what I'm writing next might have never happened in the concrete world.

But, in my emotional memory, it happened.

After our part of the program, we first graders sat in the audience on the gym floor and watched the other grades perform.

I remember the third graders singing "Silver Bells". I fell into a private rapture. It might have been my first ever experience with the power of beauty. When the third graders sang the words "Silver Bells", the girls answered "Silver Bells" with the wordless response that is so familiar.

I heard the girls sing this response and, as I my whole body was suddenly overwhelmed with joy and my six year old insides quivered, then shook. I didn't cry, but I felt like crying. I was stifling the tears of being carried away by what I experienced as the most beautiful sound I'd ever heard.

I felt something like pure love. I had my first experience with the way girls made me feel different. I felt attracted to the third grade girls, not because of what they looked like, but because "Silver Bells" sounded so beautiful. I remember seeing beauty in all their faces.


inlandempiregirl said...

Let's see... I was in kindergarten. I was probably so eager to hear every student at Silver King School sing "Here Comes Santa Claus" that the memory of Silver Bells is lost in the archives of my mind. As always I am intrigued by what each of our minds remembers.

Silver Valley Girl said...

Even though I didn't attend Silver King, I was a part of one of the Christmas programs. When I was in sixth grade, I think, I got to sit with Mrs. Williams the music teacher, at the piano, and help turn the pages of her music. They must have done the bag of hard candy every year, because I remember that as well.