Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Yes, Glendora, There Is A Santa Claus

From: Wyatt, Tami []
Sent: Monday, December 11, 2006 4:39 PM
To: City Council Outside E-Mail
Subject: The Glendora Stroll

To Whom It May Concern:

A couple of weeks ago my family and I went to the Glendora Stroll. It was a lovely night. All of the shops were decked out in their holiday finery, people were handing out cookies and hot chocolate and some of the more patient folks got to take a ride on horse drawn carriages. It was all quite beautiful and you could tell that a lot of work had been put in to making this event something very special.

The reason I'm writing this letter is to bring your attention to the wonderful man who played Santa Claus. I attended the Stroll with my 2 nephews. The youngest one is 3 and he has never, ever gotten near Santa Claus and yet this time he climbed up on his lap like they were old, dear friends. However this is not why I was so impressed with Santa. My other nephew, Paul, is 20 years old, as has been diagnosed with "mental retardation compounded with autistic tendencies". Paul is the size of a 20 year old but he has the mentality of a 6 year old. He has always loved Santa Claus and couldn't understand why he was not allowed to sit on his lap and talk to him any more. The whole time we were standing in line I was trying to convince Paul that Santa was only there to talk to the little kids and that he was too big to fit in the carriage with Santa. Once it got to be our turn another obviously handicapped young adult showed up and jumped in to the carriage with Santa. The handicapped young man's mom was trying to tell him that he shouldn't have jumped in front of the line and that it wasn't his turn yet. I assured the mom that it was ok and that I understood the excitement and then Santa assured the young man that everything was ok. Santa talked to him for a good couple of minutes and then it was our turn. Before we could get our baby into the carriage, Paul slid in there and sat right down next to Santa. With Paul being autistic it is much easier to let him do what he has his mind set to instead of interrupting him so I relented and told Paul that it was ok for him to talk to Santa but he was too big to sit on Santa's lap and that he needed to make his visit quick. Santa told me that everything was ok and he encouraged Paul to sit on his lap if that is where he wanted to sit. That dear Santa sat there for almost 5 minutes with approximately 200 lbs and 6 " of Paul on his lap and listened and spoke with him intently. Once Paul thought he had made his Christmas list clear to Santa he told him thank you and he got out. Paul adores Santa and I was moved to tears at how kind this one was. We have run across other Santa's who were not as patient. Your Santa didn't have to let this man/child sit on his lap and he didn't have to listen to Paul's somewhat unintelligible ramblings, but he did. And he did it like he meant it. He was not impatient nor was he in a hurry. This Santa was sweet and kind and gentle and I would have told him this to his face that night but I was too busy blubbering. He has no idea how much my family, (and I'm sure I speak for the family of the other handicapped young man, too.), appreciated his actions.

If you ever need a candidate for a good citizen award, I would like to nominate this gentleman. He is truly deserving of kudos for being so selfless in his portrayal of Santa Claus.

Tami Wyatt

First response:

Hi Tami ,
Your email brought tears to my eyes - what a wonderful story. I have grown up (currently 60 yrs old!) with the spirit of Santa Claus still in my mind. I have always believed and thought that you're never too old , and traditions should never die. I am so happy that this Santa treated your son Paul as well as he did. I believe I know who this Santa is and I have already nominated (your suggestion) for the next awards presentation. I would like you and your family there to pass along your story at the time of the presentation. Please let me know if this is alright with you. I will let you know when the presentation is.
Thanks again,
Ken Herman, Mayor Pro Tem


-----Original Message-----From: Susan Baux [] Sent: Monday, December 11, 2006 4:43 PMTo: Councilmember Gary Clifford; Councilmember Karen Davis; Councilmember Mark Kelly; Mayor Doug Tessitor; Mayor Pro Tem Ken HermanCc: City ManagerSubject: FW: The Glendora Stroll

Dear Councilmembers,

After reading this story, would it be possible to invite this person (Santa) to the next Council presentations or would that not be proper?


2nd Response:

I was forwarded your very kind , made me feel good, e-mail regarding the Christmas Stroll, that you sent to City of Glendora by the Mayor Doug Tessitor,

I am the Santa Claus you write about.

My name is Gordon Norman, I live here in Glendora , having come here in 1967 to be the Band Director at Glendora High School, then moving on to Cal State University Long Beach in 1973, as Associate Director of Bands. I commuted to Long Beach so that your children could attend Glendora Schools.

After leaving education in '79, we started Tartan Tours and Travel, which became Norman Travel on Route 66, across from what is now Honey's and the Legend Restaurant. We closed the store front almost 4 years ago, and we now still do group travel (music groups) from our home on Valencia Street, close to Sandburg Middle School.

I guess kids loving kids come naturally to me as I have been involved with children all of my life, as an educator, coach and just have a love for kids. When you see their great big expectant eyes, you feel you know you must do all you can!!!!

I deeply appreciate the Handicapped, both physical and mental. Many years ago, I worked in the Pasadena Department of Recreation with the Handicapped in their Summer programs. This experience taught me a great deal of humility.

I have been doing Santa Clause now here in Glendora for almost 10 years and do this service to give back to my community that has given to myself, my family, so many wonderful years living here in this special town.

I am involved in Rotary, Sister City and have been in on the Parks and Recreation Commission (now Human Services) for several years. I will again next year serve as Rotary President after having done so 24 years ago.

Your e-mail brought a choked throat and tears to both my wife and myself, when we received it having been forwarded to me by the Mayor. I so appreciate you taking the time to say, Thank You.

I was asked by the Mayor to come to the City Council Meeting on Tuesday last, (as Santa) ,and did so. Your kind e-mail was read aloud to the audience. Again, I was moved deeply. Your kind thoughts are what make do this fun thing, called Santa Claus, a great experience.

My best to you and yours in this Holiday Season.

Gordon Norman

3rd Response

Hi Tami,

I wanted to thank you, belatedly, for your touching letter to the city relating your experience with Santa (Gordon Norman) at the Glendora Stroll.

When I received your e-mail, it was a short time before our council meeting. I called Santa and asked him to come to the meeting to wish Glendorans a Merry Christmas. When he arrived, I stopped the meeting and asked him to speak to those of us there.

Then I read portions of your letter to him publicly. He and the audience were very moved. I saw several people wiping their eyes. Your letter was a great Christmas present to Santa and the rest of us in the council chambers. Thanks to your sharing, all of us got to experience the true meaning of Christmas in a special way.

Would you give me permission to reprint your letter in my weekly Examiner column? This next edition will be the last one before Christmas and I really would like to do a Christmas story. Yours would fit the bill nicely. In respect of your privacy, I omitted your name at the council meeting, but would like to mention it in the article. With your permission! Please let me know. I need to start writing this morning.

Thank you again for letting us all experience this moment.

Doug Tessitor
City of Glendora

From: Wyatt, Tami
Sent: Monday, December 18, 2006 10:46 AM
To: 'Doug Tessitor'
Subject: RE: Santa

Dear Mayor Tessitor,
I would be pleased as punch for you to publish my letter and I wholeheartedly give you permission to my pleasure. It was absolutely my pleasure to let you know about my family's encounter with him.Gordon Norman is, without a doubt When my Christmas is all about. When my family and I were waiting in line to see Santa and Paul was so insistent about wanting to sit in Santa's lap I was so very afraid that Santa was going to cringe at the idea of a handicapped man/child wanting to sit on his lap and attempt to talk to him. I wanted to protect Paul from what I thought was going to be an embarrassing experience and yet when Paul jumped in to that carriage Santa Norman greeted Paul with opened arms and quiet recognition of Paul's limited capabilities. If there weren't so many children in line behind us, I would have jumped into that carriage and given Santa Norman a hug. I hope my letter served as a hug by proxy.It was absolutely my pleasure to let you know about my family's encounter with him. Thank you for reading my letter aloud at the counsel meeting. Everyone should know that we have such a kind and gentle soul living among us.I look forward to reading your article.
Merry Christmas,
Tami Wyatt



Anonymous Aunt Sally said...

I'm so PROUD of you for taking time to make so many people feel good in this season on wonder and joy. Thank you for sharing this with us.

7:00 AM  

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