A CHRISTMAS MEMORY
At last she saw her parents in the audience. John and Juliana, had brought a bus load of people from New York to Devon Massachusetts for opening night of her poetry performance. She was thrilled to see their smiling faces. In an instant she was transported back in time to the first performance of her life at the age of five in Sister Rose’s Christmas Pageant at our Lady of Sorrows Elementary School.
“It’s an honor that Sister chose you to be the master of ceremonies and a ballerina too,” her mother said proudly.
She had five pages of lines to memorize and many fittings for the elegant tutu Grandmother Katerina would create for the Christmas dance she was part of. She studied hard and felt a keen responsibility for her parts. She would be the first on stage when the curtain rose. When she took center stage she paused calmly searching the crowded auditorium for the faces of her parents and her first love, cousin Tommy. Ah, there they were. She could begin now, but not before she made one small wave of recognition to those she loved.
“Ladies and Gentlemen, welcome to the most glorious celebration of the year, Our Lady of Sorrows Christmas Pageant…”
The words came easily just like dancing. She loved to dance especially to the Nutcracker. The minutes passed so quickly she was soon hurrying backstage to prepare for the grand finale when she would join the rest of the children in the procession. Each player marched out single file to the music to pay homage before a fake infant Jesus in a manger surrounded by student shepherds, kings, animals and Mary and Joseph. She had been keeping her eyes on Louis, the band leader she liked all night. He looked so handsome dressed in a Santa Claus suit. She thought the music her classmates made with their tiny instruments wasn’t half bad. Turning her head toward the Nativity to take a final bow, she was struck by the vision of the dark skinned girl in a blue veil trimmed with sparkling silver seated serenely beside the manger.
Mary Ann De Lauro was the most beautiful essence of pure feminine she had ever seen, a genuine Madonna! The image made her gasp, and she knew in an instant, she would have gladly traded all her parts and fanfare to be that mysterious lady. The longing made her ache even now.
Louisa Calio is an internationally published, award winning author and photo artist. She won: 1st Prize for “Bhari” fr.City of Messina , Sicily (2013),1st Prize for “Signifyin Woman” Il Parnasso” Canicatti, Sicily (2017). Finalist for Poet Laureate, Nassau County, honored at Columbia Barnard as a Feminist Who Changed America( 19763-75), Director Poet’s Piazza at Hofstra University for 12 years, she was a founding member and first Executive Director of City Spirit Artists, Inc. New Haven, Ct. Her latest book, Journey to the Heart Waters was published in 2014 by Legas Press.