Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Remember Her?

     Her husband is the one who gets all the credit, but like most wives, she does more than her share of the work. That doesn't tell you much about who this woman might be, though, does it?

     Nevertheless, it was through her husband that she became famous. He arrived in America from Europe, changed his name and expanded his business into a worldwide operation. Only later did she come along, and was married into the family business.

     She was born in Pennsylvania, to a religious family. She appeared in the Yale Literary Magazine, long before the university went co-ed, and was later featured in other more popular periodicals, from Harper's to Good Housekeeping. She eventually made it into children's books, comic books, poetry, as well as virtually every other media.

     She has been described as the original Good Wife, although she is not a lawyer like the Good Wife on TV. She took a more traditional role as, to this day, she designs and maintains a modern kitchen, cooks the chicken and turkey, bakes the cookies, takes care of the children's toys and at times chauffeurs her husband around on his job. Yes, her husband does a lot of traveling, but there is still plenty of work to be done back home at the workshop. By all reports, she assists in managing the staff of helpers, and contributes to the care and feeding of the animals.

     She made her Hollywood debut in a 1964 movie about Martians. She went on to make a cameo appearance in the 1993 movie The Nightmare Before Christmas, and has presented a strong female character in several more Christmas films. She was a teacher on television in a 1970 special, when she was shown meeting her then-young husband, who was illegally trying to spread cheer in a town run by a despotic ruler.

      Her character made an appearance in A Charlie Brown Christmas, as well as two Charlie Brown sequels. She also showed up in A Chipmunk Christmas, buying Alvin a new harmonica after he'd given his old one to a sick boy. In this made-for-TV movie, Alvin repays her by offering up his rendition of "Silent Night."

     She was also the subject of a 1996 television musical, starring Angela Lansbury. Feeling neglected by her husband, she decamped to New York City where she sang and marched in support of women's voting rights, and against child labor in toy manufacturing.

     As you've no doubt figured out by now, the woman is Mrs. Santa Claus -- wife of St. Nicholas, the man previously known in Europe as Sinterklaas but whose origins reach back to pre-Christian Germany as well as Turkey and Greece. Mrs. Claus was first mentioned in a short story called "A Christmas Legend" by the Philadelphia missionary James Rees (hence, "born" in Pennsylvania.) Now, of course, she lives at the North Pole with her husband. And like Santa himself, she has come to be depicted as a roly-poly older woman who is incredibly kind and infinitely patient.

     But Mrs. Claus has occasionally been portrayed against stereotype. She has been depicted as a vampire, and in one briefly-aired TV commercial she was shown ... in bed with a snowman!

     Yet for most of us she will remain the compassionate grandmotherly type, the kind who is always glad to see us and welcome us with a plate of warm Christmas cookies. But we can envision -- can't we? -- that she might not always be completely content sitting in the background baking cakes and pies. We can imagine that she, like the rest of us, might have a few complaints about her lot in life, yet still have a sense of humor about it. If you can, as they say, then take a listen ...


schmidleysscribblins, said...

.Thanks for the tip about the movie with Angela Landsbury. I love her. I had never heard of the children's movies. I have not seen one ever except on TV. I didn't take my kids to many films when they were younger and the last film I took my granddaughters to see was "Across the Universe." My grandson Jacob's favorite film is "Julie and Julia." When he was here last year, the only thing he wanted to see was Julia Child's kitchen at the Smithsonian. Dianne

Olga said...

A good one. I will try to listen to the song, but my seriously hard of hearing husband sees no need for sound on a computer and keeps turning it off...and has the nerve to complain when I figure out how to turn it back on...unfortunately the same steep learning curve every time.

Stephen Hayes said...

The movie "One Magic Christmas" gets my vote for the best Mr, and Mrs, Santa Clause. It's a bit gritty for a Christmas story but that makes it all the better, I think. Give it a try if you haven't seen it.

rosaria said...

What a lovely take on the woman behind the man!

Friko said...

What scandalous gossip are you spreading here!

There is no Mrs. Claus, Sankt Nikolaus was a bishop of Myra and he wouldn't have been allowed to marry anyone.

dear me, dear me, what is the world coming to!

Robert the Skeptic said...

As A kid I always loved the song "Mrs. Santa Claus" by Nat King Cole.

Dick Klade said...

Timely fun for the holidays. Good post.

sbobet said...

thnx for nice work
and pretty simple example but
where can i see the form i m not able to see the dorm created by module??livescore