The 5th Gift of Christmas in Room 13, Oliver Street School, 1944

From The Hundred Dresses by Eleanor Estes:

Dear Miss Mason: How are you and Room 13? Please tell the girls they can keep those hundred dresses because in my new house I have a hundred new ones all lined up in my closet. I’d like that girl Peggy to have the drawing of the green dress with the red trimming and her friend Maddie to have the blue one. For Christmas. I miss that school and my new teacher does not equalize with you. Merry Christmas to you and everybody. Yours truly,
Wanda Petronski

“The teacher passed the letter around the room for everybody to see. It was pretty, decorated with a picture of a Christmas tree lighted up in the night in a park surrounded by high buildings.”

51Z3YQ1adYL._SX258_PJlook-inside-v2,TopRight,1,0_SH20_BO1,204,203,200_Since bullying is the topic du jour these days in children’s books and school assemblies, a retrieval of this classic story about Polish immigrant Wanda Petronski and her encounters with the girls of “Room 13” would certainly remind us that the problem of the strong pushing around the weak is not a new one. And the story gives some keys to the solutions: empathy developed by understanding, distance sometimes, and inner strength. Art helps, too.

Today’s Gifts from Semicolon
A song: In the Bleak Midwinter, lyrics by Christian Rossetti, music by Gustav Holst.

A booklist: Biographies of the U.S. Presidents (books I’m planning to read)

A birthday: Christina Rossetti, b.1830.
Walt Disney, b. 1901. The movie, Saving Mr. Banks, about Walt Disney and author P.L. Travers and the making of the movie version of Mary Poppins opens in theaters December 20th.

A poem: Love Came Down at Christmas by Christina Rossetti.