The Christmas Pageant at Jack & Jill Kindergarten, Under the Direction of Mrs. Evelyn Sellers, 1961


Another of the staunch neighbors in my grandmother’s neighborhood was Mrs. Evelyn Sellers.
She and her husband lived a block east from my grandmother. She was a business owner in the
neighborhood with a thriving enterprise–a kindergarten. In addition, Ms. Sellers taught piano lessons in
the evening after the kindergarten let out around noon. She would take students home from
kindergarten and then come back after normal school hours ended around 3 pm and teach students to
play piano. I was one of her charges in music.
These endeavors, on the part of Ms. Sellers, were very much like a cottage industry. She taught
kindergarten students to read, and to recite poetry, and Psalms. She taught piano to kindergarten
students and older students who had graduated from kindergarten. And, during the academic school
year, Mrs. Sellers would put on performances with her kindergarteners for various holidays and Spring
time pleasantry events. In the fall of 1962, Mrs. Sellers began working on the Holiday Celebration for
December.
The kindergarten students were learning the music to the “Elves and the Shoemaker,” in
addition to the lines of the play. Moreover, some of us were learning other poems to recite in addition
to the lines from the Elves and The Shoemaker. I was learning “The night before Christmas” by Clement
C. Moore, LLD. Little did I know that I would be reciting the whole poem at the Christmas festivities prior
to our Christmas vacation.
There were some other things I also didn’t know, like my mother would come home at the end
of each week away from her out of town job and spend considerable time rehearsing the poem each
week until I could recite it from start to finish. My mother insisted that I not get up in front of the
parents and students and commence to laughing. I promised I wouldn’t, and then the day arrived.
My parents got me to the kindergarten on time, and ready to do all recitations needed for the
pageant. Suddenly it was my turn to recite, and I stepped up on stage and began to crack up. When I
looked where my parents were seated, I could see they were not amused, and I apologized to the
audience said, “My jaws are itching me,” and began to recite, “Twas the night before Christmas, when
all through the house not a creature was stirring not even a mouse. The stockings were hung by the
chimney with care, in hopes that St Nicholas soon would be there;”
I thought my parents would skin me alive, but they never mentioned it again, and neither did I.
What I learned from that was that one could make a mistake, make a recovery and get past the error.
Although I learned other poems for other events at church, “The night before Christmas, was the
longest.”

The Kindergarten was a community resource, from which musical and thespian activities
ensued through Jack & Jill. It brought renown to the community and to the Director, Mrs. Sellers and her
able assistant in the kindergarten, Mrs. Ledbetter.

nelson

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