I was in elementary school. This happened somewhere between 3rd and 6th grade. I cannot be too sure when, although I bet if I reached out to my friend, she would know. Here is the story:
One of the wonderful things about elementary school (at least when I was there) was the class Christmas party. They probably call it a “Holiday” party now, or maybe they can’t do them anymore, I don’t know. Each student would bring a treat or drink to pass around and the day before Christmas break, you’d have a celebration.
Each year, there was a gift exchange. It was never anything really expensive. I think there was a $5 or $10 limit. A couple weeks before the party, each kid came up to the bowl or hat with the names of the kids participating and drew a name. One year, I drew Carol’s name.
Carol sat in front of me every year. Her last name came before mine alphabetically. She had blonde hair and I remember thinking how pretty she was. Of course, you never told anyone that in elementary school. The other boys would make fun of you! Anyway, I remember freaking out about what to get her. What does a boy know about buying for a girl!? (Incidentally, this still holds true today for most guys I know – myself included!)
I’m sure I had to ask my mom for help deciding. I don’t exactly remember all of what I got her, but it was probably candy and such. But there was one thing I remember seeing that I thought was a good idea. A snowman pin. I wouldn’t call it a hat pin, it was more of a lapel pin. You know, it was metal and had the gold or silver clasp that fit over the pin to keep it on where you pinned it? I did a search online and this is pretty darn close to what I remember it looking like:
It was such a simple little thing. Back when we were in high school, she still had it. She would wear it around the holidays. I was floored that she kept it. I know I would have lost it over the years.
After graduation, as most people do, I lost touch with Carol. Years later, thanks to Myspace, I was able to reconnect with her. One of the first things she told me was that she STILL had that snowman pin! She told me that she would always wear it every holiday season! I could not believe it.
With the dawn of Facebook, we connected on there and are still friends. I met her about 45 years ago. That pin has to be at least 42 years old and as far as I know, she still has it. This makes me smile to know that the one thing that I thought would be a good gift – was.
Merry Christmas, Carol. I hope that snowman is still smiling at you and making you smile, too!