Every Parent is Proud

Sneakers, tennies, tennis shoes, gym shoes--I wonder what my great-grandchildren will call them.

Sneakers, tennies, tennis shoes, gym shoes–I wonder what my great-grandchildren will call them.

“The Phantom … was shrouded in a deep black garment, which concealed its head, its face, its form, and left nothing of it visible save one outstretched hand. But for this it would have been difficult to detach its figure from the night, and separate it from the darkness by which it was surrounded.

“He felt that it was tall and stately when it came beside him, and that its mysterious presence filled him with a solemn dread. He knew no more, for the Spirit neither spoke nor moved.

“‘I am in the presence of the Ghost of Christmas Yet To Come?’ said Scrooge.

“The Spirit answered not, but pointed downward with its hand.

“‘You are about to show me shadows of the things that have not happened, but will happen in the time before us,’ Scrooge pursued. ‘Is that so, Spirit?’”

——

Well, that’s the story. Here’s the 1970 performance by the students in Reseda, Calif. Elementary:

The Phantom is shrouded in a deep black garment, which conceals its head, its face, its form, and leaves nothing of it visible save one outstretched hand—and underneath its garment a pair of grungy formerly-white tennis shoes, one untied.

The phantom moves to come up beside Scrooge, stumbles, stomps hard on the floorboards, and finally makes it to stage center and becomes stationary. Anybody can see it’s inches shorter than Scrooge, so that does it for “tall” and “stately,” and I guess falling over your own shoe laces pretty much does it for filling anybody with a “solemn dread, too. But it does manage the “neither spoke nor moved part.

“I’m in the present of the Ghost of Christmas yeah to come?” bellows Scrooge.

Spirit answers not, but kicks his trailing costume out of the way, turns toward the audience and points directly at a little girl who shrieks, “Don’t you point at me.” The next characters in this merry fiasco are now stomping onto stage right—which is the direction I’m sure the phantom should be pointing at.

For days, my son has been practicing pointing at mirrors, his sister and the TV. Perhaps he should have been practicing navigating through eye holes and ambulating around in a sheet.

“You’re gonna show me shadows of the things that have not happened, but, uh,… will happen sometime before us.” Scrooge pursues, giving the sheet an encouraging smile. “That so, Spirit?”

——

Well, every parent was proud. Me. too. The pointing was perfect. I just wish I’d cleaned his tennis shoes and made sure he double-tied the laces.

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