Editor’s Note: The New York Sun’s Francis Pharcellus Church penned this famous response to 8-year-old Virginia O’Hanlon in 1897.
We take pleasure in answering thus prominently the communication below, expressing at the same time our great gratification that its faithful author is numbered among the friends of The Sun:
I am 8 years old. Some of my little friends say there is no Santa Claus. Papa says, “If you see it in The Sun, it’s so.” Please tell me the truth, is there a Santa Claus?
115 West Ninety Fifth St.
Virginia, your little friends are wrong. They have been affected by the skepticism of a skeptical age. They do not believe except they see. They think that nothing can be which is not comprehensible by their little minds. All minds, Virginia, whether they be men’s or children’s, are little. In this great universe of ours, man is a mere insect, an ant, in his intellect as compared with the boundless world about him, as measured by the intelligence capable of grasping the whole of truth and knowledge.
Yes, Virginia, there is a Santa Claus. He exists as certainly as love and generosity and devotion exist, and you know that they abound and give to your life its highest beauty and joy. Alas! how dreary would be the world if there were no Santa Claus! It would be as dreary as if there were no Virginias. There would be no childlike faith then, no poetry, no romance to make tolerable this existence.
We should have no enjoyment, except in sense and sight. The external light with which childhood fills the world would be extinguished.
Not believe in Santa Claus! You might as well not believe in fairies. You might get your papa to hire men to watch in all the chimneys on Christmas Eve to catch Santa Claus, but even if you did not see Santa Claus coming down, what would that prove? Nobody sees Santa Claus, but that is no sign that there is no Santa Claus. The most real things in the world are those that neither children nor men can see. Did you ever see fairies dancing on the lawn? Of course not, but that’s no proof that they are not there. Nobody can conceive or imagine all the wonders there are unseen and unseeable in the world.
You tear apart the baby’s rattle and see what makes the noise inside, but there is a veil covering the unseen world which not the strongest man, nor even the united strength of all the strongest men that ever lived could tear apart. Only faith, poetry, love, romance, can push aside that curtain and view and picture the supernal beauty and glory beyond. Is it all real?
Ah, Virginia, in all this world there is nothing else real and abiding.
No Santa Claus! Thank God! He lives and lives forever. A thousand years from now, Virginia, nay 10 times 10,000 years from now, he will continue to make glad the heart of childhood.
LETTER from K. WAYNE BUNN
To the Editor:
I just viewed the 4C’s video of Santa and Mrs. Claus arriving at their cottage and lighting the Village’s Christmas tree.
Wow, what a wonderful video!
It was very creative and so well done. Congratulations to you and everyone else who planned and produced it. You can be very proud of it.
“Yes, Virginia, there is a Santa Claus!” I would encourage everyone to Google and read that famous editorial published in The New York Sun newspaper on Sept. 21, 1897, from which this saying was taken. We all need to believe in Santa Claus for hope after this awful year of COVID.
Merry Christmas to all!
K. WAYNE BUNN
Otsego Lake resident
By IAN AUSTIN • Special to www.AllOTSEGO.com
ONEONTA – The end of the Christmas season will mark the end of an era for a Southside Mall mainstay.
For over two decades, Vera Stewart, aka Mrs. Claus, has been volunteering for the Salvation Army by ringing bells and holding doors at her station outside of JCPenney, spreading cheer to holiday shoppers. Dressed in red velvet with white trim, the Southside Mrs. Claus has become a mainstay of the Christmas season to many visitors young and old.
“When they first asked me to be a bell ringer for the Salvation Army, I decided to try it.” said Stewart, “I began doing it only on weekends, then I went to five days a week.”
“Welcome home to Cooperstown!” declares Mayor Ellen Tillapaugh, as – for the first time since her March election – she greets Santa and Mrs. Claus as they arrive at their Pioneer Park cottage in a horse-drawn carriage. The day afternoon Thanksgiving, good boys and girls came from all over the area to welcome the Jolly Old Elf, ushering in the Christmas season. At right, Brynlee Burr, 4, and her mom, Brittany, were decked out in their holiday finest to keep warm and wait for the parade to bring Santa to town. Santa will be in his cottage over the weekend and until Christmas Eve give hear all his young Cooperstown friends related their holiday wishes. (Libby Cudmore, AllOTSEGO.com)
HAPPENIN’ OTSEGO for SATURDAY, DEC. 17
NUTCRACKER – 7 p.m. The Fokine Ballet Company’s 29th production of “The Nutcracker.” Goodrich Theater, SUNY Oneonta, 108 Ravine Pkwy., Oneonta. Info/Tickets (607)432-6290, firstname.lastname@example.org
WRITERS PROGRAM – 1:30-3 p.m. Group to host author Shannon Delaney. She will talk about her writing process and journey through publishing. Huntington Memorial Library, 62 Chestnut St, Oneonta. Info, hmloneonta.org
THEATER – 2 p.m. The Farmers Museum presents Charles Dikens’ “A Christmas Carol.” 5775 Rt. 80, Cooperstown. Info, www.farmersmuseum.org/A-Christmas-Carol
CONCERT – 4 p.m. The Voices of Cooperstown to sing “Handel’s Messiah”. Tickets $20 Adult, $10 Child. Christ Episcopal Church, Fair St., Cooperstown. Tickets available at Cooperstown Art Association, 22 Main St., Cooperstown or Riverwood, 88 Main St., Cooperstown or Cooperstown Chamber of Commerce, 31 Chestnut St., Cooperstown.
CONCERT – 7:30 p.m.. “Darlingside” performs live at the Otesaga Resort Hotel, 60 Lake St., Cooperstown. Info, (607) 547-1812, email@example.com, cooperstownconcertseries.org/darling.html
HAPPENIN’ OTSEGO for SUNDAY, DEC. 11
We still have 6 families in the Salvation Army’s Angel Tree program in need of a benefactor this holiday season. CLICK HERE to learn how you can help them.
CONCERT – 3 p.m. “Christmas in the Catskills: Songs of the Season” the winter concert of the Catskill Chamber Singers. Unitarian Universalist Church, 12 Ford Ave., Oneonta. Info, Emma Kirsch (607)433-0999, or visit www.catskillchambersingers.com
YULETIDE CELEBRATION – 1-4 p.m. Hunt for the Yule log and then settle in for an afternoon of arts and crafts for the whole family. SUNY Oneonta College Camp, off upper East St.,Oneonta. one mile from intersection of Bugbee Rd. and East St., Oneonta. Info, 436-3455
WASSAIL WEEKEND – 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Demonstration on how to make Wassail, the traditional holiday drink. Savory spices blended with sweet cider at The Fly Creek Cider Mill, 288 Goose St., Fly Creek. Info, 1-800-505-6455, flycreekcidermill.com
Calling Hours Tomorrow At Cooperstown Funeral Home
FLY CREEK – Vera R. Ainslie, Cooperstown’s former “Mrs. Claus” whose family name also is memorialized in Cooperstown Youth Baseball’s home field, passed away Thursday afternoon, May 12, 2016, surrounded by her family at Focus Rehabilitation and Nursing Center at Otsego. She was 89.
Calling hours are 4-6 Monday at the Connell, Dow & Deysenroth Funeral Home, Cooperstown, with a graveside service on Thursday.
Born July 18, 1926, at Bassett Hospital, Vera was a daughter of Orra C. and Nellie Mariah (Adsit) Goodspeed.