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A Poem for Christmas 1938: Joan as the Virgin Mary in the Christmas Pageant

Joan was delighted to portray the Virgin Mary in the church pageant in 1938.

December 17, 1938.  Joan doodled different views of her in her costume.

December 17, 1938. Joan doodled different views of her in her costume.

She also drew herself on the day of the pageant, Dec. 18, 1938, by the manger.

By the manger as Mary (December 18, 1938).

By the manger as Mary (December 18, 1938). Note the ink blot.

Joan was very moved by Mary’s story and wrote several poems, imagining Mary’s thoughts.  Here is one of them she wrote the night after the pageant.

December 18, 1938                                                                                     

Mary

I do not understand

Why are they bringing gifts to my boy,

New-born.  Why in this quiet city

Should three kings lay gifts and leave?

What brought the light-faced shepherd here?

I do not understand.

Whom am I the mother of

That they should honor so?

I am only a humble maiden

Who brought forth a child in a barn.

I do not understand

The babe does not cry,

But lies in the hay, asleep.

What do they mean when they say

That he shall suffer and lie in a cold tomb?

Why are the shepherds’ sticks crossed?

I do not understand

That a babe should prosper and grow tall

And laugh, and be a man, suffer and die.

Is not this the greatest wonder of them all?

That one should grow and cells miraculously divide

And that the cells which thirty years had made

Should rest and in the cool Earth lie.


Here is the photo taken of Joan and the other young actors that winter.

Joan in the center as the Virgin Mary, December 18, 1938.

Joan in the center as the Virgin Mary, December 18, 1938.

Best wishes for a happy Christmas and a joyful holiday season to all!

Happy Holidays from 1937, 1939, and 2012 — 1940 is less happy…..

As Joan wrote in her journals over 70 years ago:

[Age 15] Dec. 25, 1937

Hello! It’s Christmas Day! Isn’t that a lovely word—“Christmas”—the very sound of it makes you think of bright snow and blue stars and shining laughing things – especially the “Christ” part – the sound of the word is like bright snow or sunlight. The sound of “God” makes you feel strange too. Not like “Christ,” not bright and shining, but like something glowing deep within you. Words – some of them – seem to come from the very heart of men —some bright and some deep within you. Words are terribly beautiful—sometimes.

December 25, 1939

A clipping from Joan's scrapbook.  A photo from the newspaper in Chicago, 1939.

A clipping from Joan’s scrapbook. A photo from the newspaper in Chicago, 1939.

[Age 18] Christmas 1940

Then on Michigan Blvd I passed suddenly the Cunard window…. An exhibit for the BWR [British War Relief]—pictures of little children in Britain—homes bombed—helmets that could be knitted for the RAF—a noble purpose—but it’s making war in our hearts…The little German children are bombed and hungry too…And all the sudden, in an emotional intensity, I thought, “This may be the last Christmas we shall have”…Christmas 1940…I should be wise and know the world will never end…Time is a funny mirror—sometimes the image is distorted…An unofficial truce played over Christmas in Europe today—Hitler said, “German fliers will not fly on Christmas if British flyers will not.” And they did not…And so a white bloodless Christmas there and the sky is weeping here…Christmas 1940—

And from Jim, Sarah, John and me (Susie): Merry Christmas 2012

Here we are with our dear friend, Don Singer--Happy Holidays to all!

Here we are with our dear friend, Don Singer–Happy Holidays to all!

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