html xmlns:og='' xmlns:expr=''> Lounging at the Waldorf: Celebration


Monday, December 17, 2012


The debate lasted late in the night. The parents could not decide what to do about the upcoming performance. People were split down the middle, divided, all in the name of inclusivity. Finally, Jean Chung-Davis hit upon a compromise.

If they wanted to, and only if they wanted to, any class would be allowed to perform Christmas carols at the annual Winter Soltice pageant so long as the song had been written by one or more Jews.

Ms. Garcia's fifth grade class chose Silver Bells Jay Livingston (born Jacob Harold Levison) and Ray Evans. The boys in the class, however, insisted on changing the words to "silver balls" forcing their teacher to switch their holiday offering to Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer by Robert May (as in Robert may have converted to Catholicism later in life) and Johnny Marks.

The song swap really upset the girls in the class. They found Silver Bells, a tune about a city life, to be much more sophisticated than a song about a special needs reindeer.

"Rudolph is for babies!" protested Bridgette Callahan.

Boys forcing you to leave the city behind for babies, thought Ms. Garcia looking at the photo of her husband and twin sons that sat in a frame on her desk. Get used to it, Bridgette. 

Mr. Darby's third grade class chose White Christmas penned in 1942 by Israel Beilin née Irving Berlin. Though it was a drizzly 60 degrees where they sat in Berkeley, CA, the students voted for the song "because it snows in winter." They pointed to a calendar on the wall that showed a country cottage covered in fresh power and called it "traditional." This gave Mr. Darby an idea.

He went online and to find images of modern day Bethlehem to show that in winter, the weather there was similar to the weather in California! His goal was to prove that their experience in the Bay Area was traditional and what they saw on the calendar was, in fact, the fabricated ideal! This proved, once again, that Berkeley was second banana to none!

Unfortunately, that part of the world had recently been bombed and the pictures that came up on Google were much more disturbing than he'd hoped.

The kindergarteners chose Let It Snow! Let It Snow! Let It Snow! by Jule Styne and Sammy Cahn (or Julius Kerwin Stein and Samuel Cohen). When they got to the bit about a "kiss goodnight" Ms. Greenberg could not control the giggling. Not yet 30 and no where near jaded, she lead the kids in a creative brainstorm. They would create their own song! Their own celebration! The kids threw out words and Ms. Greenberg wrote them on the board:


By the end of the day they had written a song about a robot bunny named Apples who delivers motorcycles to all the good tigers and Pokemon every winter. When the kids' parents got wind of the song, they called for another meeting. As the song was clearly not what had been previously agreed upon, that debate, too, lasted late in the night.

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