BLACKFOOT– Christmas cheer can come in many forms for people. Some of the unique aspects of Christmas is the memories of past holidays. One local author has written a few Christmas memories that were shared in three novels which were printed in 2006, 2008, and 2009. These novels are a conglomeration of true stories that were written by authors all over the world. The contributors included M. DeLoris Henscheid who is a native of Blackfoot, Idaho. She is a part of over eight generations who have lived in Blackfoot. Her nine children, grandchildren, and great grandchildren have created the inspiration for relaying these stories to the world.
The first novel which has one of her true stories is entered is "Classic Christmas: True Stories of Holiday Cheer and Goodwill" by Helen Szymanski, who authored a story as well as edited the collection. The story is called "I Married Santa Claus." This short story details how DeLoris met her husband. At a Christmas party in 1948 she went to the home of Henry and Mary Henscheid. Their son Bernard had returned home for the holidays and was playing Santa Claus. She sad down next to him as he played Christmas carols to the crowd who sang along. As Santa asked what she wanted for Christmas she replied, "a date." The rest is history. Bernard and DeLoris have been married for over fifty-five years. She continues to detail how Bernard would don the Santa suit. One year when he was sick, he called the children who were expecting him detailing that Santa would miss him. He received numerous get well cards, cookies, visits and telephone calls saying they missed their Santa.
The second collection "Christmas Through a Child's Eyes: True Stories that Capture the Wonder of the Season" by Helen Szymanski. In this short story "My Long Brown Stockings," DeLoris hearkens back to her childhood when she was late to school because the snow was melting. She had gotten wet from playing in the puddles. It was against the rules to show up to school wet and she was told to go home by her teacher. Her childlike innocence refused and decided to climb into a pipe (which was being moved near campus) so she could turn her stockings inside out. After she returned back to the school, and told the teacher she had gone home to get new stockings, her lie had been discovered. The lesson she received stuck with her about lying and telling the truth near Christmas time.
The final collection was "Christmas Traditions: True Stories that Celebrate the Spirit of the Season" by Helen Szymanski. DeLoris' story "Macaroni Necklaces and Cumbersome Pride" regales the reader of her children's Christmas present drawings. As they grew to nine children they drew names out of necessity, "and manufacturing eighty-one gifts would have become a logistical nightmare-had we not introduced the magic of drawn names." The children excelled at crafting presents for their siblings, which many times included a macaroni necklace, whose name they had drawn. One year when her two daughters, and herself, were plagued by kidney disorders which meant they had to have numerous surgeries. The children were still excited to craft gifts for each other, even the girls who were healing. DeLoris was contacted by a woman's organization who told her they had chosen their family as someone to help during the season. DeLoris decided to say they were fine and find another family who needed help. The lady was insistent and DeLoris kept the "project" a secret. Her children were now ranging from seven to nineteen years old. Her older children were insistent on knowing whether "Santa's leftovers" came from. The older children were told of generous friends and did not go into the project. They kept the magic alive for the younger children. DeLoris' children are now scattered across the world, but every once in a while a macaroni necklace makes it into a Christmas box.
DeLoris crafts the stories like the reader is a close friend of the family. The synopsis does not do justice for the stories. The reviews on Amazon and other venues have been extremely positive about all of the collections of stories. If one is looking for stories and ways to boost the Christmas spirit, the collections of Christmas stories will do.