One Day More (Blogisode Seven)

This is what I got when I Googled.  Some guy in Europe called Sinterklaas.  He fills stockings.

This is what I got when I Googled. Some guy in Europe called Sinterklaas. He fills stockings.

Happy Tuesday, and welcome to a rare Tuesday blogisode.  More of you read the disgusting mouse tale than I expected, so thank you for that.  As gross as it was, Charlotte and I had a blast writing it together, so it was worth it.  Ah yes, mother daughter blog bonding over mouse guts.  Must be Holiday time.  Oh, and speaking of holiday time, Happy St. Nicholas Day!

People often ask me what St. Nicholas Day is (because I always post in on Facebook), and it seems that unless you are from Europe or from Cincinnati, you haven’t heard of it.  I don’t know why Cincinnati people have heard of it.  I explained it to my frind Jacob early tonight as I dragged him to a Duane Reade to buy things.  The conversation went like this:

Jacob:  Okay, wait.  What is this St. Nick thing again?

Me:  It’s some kind of celebration of….ummm…..maybe the feast of St. Nicolas?  Or maybe it isn’t a feast, but I think he might be a Saint?  Maybe it’s a catholic thing?  Okay, I don’t know.

Jacob:  But Santa Claus comes?

Me:  No.  It’s St. Nicolas.

(Pause)

Jacob has 50 questions.  I can't answer one.

Jacob has 50 questions. I can't answer one.

Me:  So I guess, maybe it’s Santa?  I’m bad on the details.  But the point is, someone comes and fills your stockings.  Well, in Europe they put out their shoes and St. Nick fills the shoes, but I think that’s gross, so we do stockings.

Jacob:  Do they still get a stocking on Christmas?

Me:  Yeah.

Jacob:  So they get two stockings?

Me:  Yeah.

Jacob:  And why do you do this?

Me:  Because my Mom did it.

(Pause.  He thinks.)

Jacob:  I think the whole thing sounds sketchy.

Me:  I guess it does. But it’s fun.

(We get in line and pay.  After we walk out, Jacob says)

Jacob:  I think I might have to put my shoes out tonight and see if I get a little something.  I like this St. Nick thing.  Kinda kicks off the season.

See?  Even though it doesn’t make any sense, isn’t it fun?  What’s wrong with a filled stocking on St. Nick’s Day?  Nothing.  And to explain it, just make something up.  I tell my kids it’s Santa’s birthday and he is such a generous guy that he gives instead of gets, and that’s why they get stockings.  The moral of my Christmas story?  When in doubt, just make crap up.

‘Tis the season to lie!

I did do a little Googling, and here is some info for those of you who are sticklers for silly things like facts (but I’m telling you the whole thing is still sketchy and it’s from Wikipedia, so that isn’t the most reliable thing.  But here.).  Saint Nicholas.

And now….. Let’s climb aboard the Singapore Airlines travel machine (be sure to order the American dinner and not the Singapore dinner) and let’s head back to 1994.  Take off that sweater, it’s hot out there.

Speaking of weather, which makes me think of natural disasters, let’s get to that Friday cliffhanger.  So here’s what happened.  A little after we arrived in Singapore, there was a giant earthquake in Jakarta, Indonesia which is right around the block (country-wise) from Singapore, and was close enough that we felt it (especially in our high rise hotel), and rattled our PTSD nerves pretty good.  A lot of people didn’t feel it at all, but it was enough of a reminder that we hadn’t escaped earthquake country entirely, even though we were so far from home.  Homesickness was a factor for all of us, no doubt about it, aggravated by the fact that it was so hard and expensive to make contact with anyone.  It’s funny, Rob’s out of town for six days and it’s just not as big a deal as it used to be.  We can Skype and text message and instant message, and Facetime, and send picture messages.

In fact, it is possible for Rob to actually be sick of me and we aren’t even in the same state.

Are you remembering back to 1994?  No e-mail.  No cell phones.

Here’s what we did….we wrote letters and we sent faxes.  Phone calls were ridiculously expensive–like $50 for 15 minutes.  Stupid expensive.

Envelopes full of faxes and cards and pictures, spread out on my "desk" and by "desk" I mean couch.

Envelopes full of faxes and cards and pictures, spread out on my "desk" and by "desk" I mean couch.

As I type this, I am looking at a giant stack of manilla envelopes filled with airmail letters and faxes that went back and forth between me, my mom, my sister, and Rob.  My intention was to read them all and then pull out highlights and type them up….but…..that seems like a) A lot of work and b) Boring for you.  It’s a lot of “It’s really hot here and the food is gross.” And “I miss you sooooo much.”  And “Today I had rehearsal and then I went to one of the highrise malls and looked at electronics.”  Got it?  Great.  That saves me a lot of work and you don’t have to scan through boring blogisodes full of precious memories.  What’s important to know is that Rob wrote me every single day while he was on tour with Sunday In the Park With George and I must not have written him back everyday because I keep finding faxes from me that start with, “You’ve been SO GREAT about writing and I’ve been awful!  I’m so sorry!!”

Truth?  I was mad that we weren’t engaged, and I’m pretty sure I was being a brat and not writing (because THAT will make a person more appealing…..)….But I’ll get back to that whole mess in a while.

Let’s talk about the show for a second.  Because Les Miserables was the first big musical to come to Singapore, the pressure was on for the producer, Cameron Mackintosh, to sell a lot of tickets so he could bring his other big shows over and make a gajillion dollars.  This was great for us, because it meant we got the red carpet treatment.  Let me talk you through it.

The fancy people showed up.

The fancy people showed up.

1)  Cameron and the composers Alain Boublil and Claude-Michel Schönberg flew in for the opening.  This is a big deal and let me explain why. When you are in a long running show–which Les Miz was by this point–unless you were part of the very first cast that rehearsed the show, it is extremely uncommon to see any of the people who created the show.  As in….never.  In fact, the one and only time I ever met Trevor Nunn (who directed TWO shows I’ve done, Les Miz and Cats) was only the closing night of Cats on Broadway.  And I’ve never met Hal Prince (director of Phantom).  So there you go, you get the point.  Rare, rare, rare.

2)  We had a giant opening night party.  Giant.  Because the fancy people were coming, we had an uber fancy party.

How fancy you wonder?

I have stockings to fill, so I have to go, but I’ll tell you tomorrow, along with more details about me being a brat via fax.

To read the next installment in this series, go here


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

About Sharon Wheatley

Mother of Charlotte and Beatrix. Sometimes an actress. Sometimes a writer. I'm glad you're here.
This entry was posted in One Day More. Bookmark the permalink.

One Response to One Day More (Blogisode Seven)

  1. Anne Marie says:

    St Nicholas Day is one of the few German customs my family has left. (A lot of them had to be suppressed when we, despite American citizenship, were perceived as "the enemy" in 2 world wars.) Cincinnati is overrun with German-Americans, so that would explain why it's big there, but not so much in SWPA which is overrun with Italians and Eastern Europeans. (Just in case you wanted an explanation for Cincy.)
    In our family, it officially kicks off the Christmas season which runs until the 12th Day of Christmas, January 6, the Feast of the Epiphany (or 3 Kings Day). German people like that kind of symmetry– Dec 6 to January 6. They also pretty much invented many of the Christmas traditions of America–Christmas trees, Santa/St Nick, etc.
    Some cultures do the present exchange on January 6. But we German people, we get a preview on St Nicholas' Feast Day and then the big gift exchange on Christmas Eve. I was delighted to see that you celebrate St Nicholas Day. All the cool kids do. :)

Comments are closed.