Main Menu

The Sassy Sandpiper: The Ghost of (Middle School) Christmas Past

Sassy Sandpiper | Columns | TB Reporte

By M.R. WILSON, TB Reporter

Perhaps this age-group’s magic can bring forth the muse.  

Some of my best Christmas memories are from my days as a middle school teacher at Saint Paul’s School in Clearwater.

Now you might think that seems a little far-fetched, given what we all “know” about middle schoolers. They are the worst age group to teach; hormone-crazed monsters who will turn in homework with pizza stains on it, fall deliberately and repeatedly out of their seats to garner the attention of a cute blonde across the room, lie to their parents and school administrators about the cruel and unusual punishments imposed for doing nothing by their sadistic teachers, and fake a death in the family to avoid detention.

There is no rational explanation for why middle schoolers were my favorite students.

Perhaps it is because those years were some of my most creative. I wrote instructional materials from worksheets to semester projects, to skits, short stories, and plays, often with accompanying artwork. The vast majority of my students were enthusiastic participants. I was lucky enough to teach some exceptional young people, a handful of whom are friends to this very day.

As Winter Break approached, moods turned festive. I wrote funny stuff for my kids—alternative lyrics for holiday songs and poems were my specialty. Here’s a Floridian version of a childhood favorite:

’twas the night before Christmas

                and all through the trees,

                not an air puff was moving,

                there wasn’t a breeze.


                The presents were wrapped,

                not a bow out of place;

                as for that ol’ man Santa,

                I ne’er saw his face.


                The air, it was muggy,

                the humidity high;

                those guys in New York State

                would be high and dry.


                But here on the Suncoast,

                in the sun and the sand,

                a bit of the white stuff

                was much in demand.


                Then all of a sudden,

                I don’t know from where,

                a clatter and flutter

                of wings filled the air.


                I ran to the back door,

                and opened it wide;

                I looked up in amazement

                and laughed ’til I cried.


                For there on the roof top,

                not reindeer nor man,

                but a sleigh full of goodies

                and eight PELICANS!


               “On Dipper, on Diver, on Elmer, and Surfer!

                Now Coral, now Sandy, now Skyler and Flower!”


                And bag after bag they held in their pouch,

                dropped them down the chimney;

                they fell on my couch.


                I stood and I watched and

                was left without words

                but I’ll always remember

                those generous birds.


                They took to the air and

                were soon out of sight.

                “Merry Christmas to all,

                and to all a Good Night!”

                                                —MRW, 1987

Columns | The Sassy Sandpiper | Holidays | Clearwater | St. Paul’s School | TB Reporter

#Columns #TheSassySandpiper #Holidays #Clearwater #St.Paul’sSchool #TBReporter


The Sassy Sandpiper: The Ghost of (Middle School) Christmas Past
Article Name
The Sassy Sandpiper: The Ghost of (Middle School) Christmas Past
Perhaps this age-group's magic can bring forth the muse.
Publisher Name
TB Reporter
Publisher Logo

Comments are Closed