As a little lad, we lived in west Hull. It was a typical terrace house in a street called Westlands Road. No. 8 to be precise. My Dad added extensions to it here and there so a new kitchen extension and a front porch. The front porch was where the telephone was. Back then, telephones were black and had a handset that sat on a body with a rotary dialer. They made a nice sound when you turned that dialer!
Like most little kids I suppose, I was obsessed with the phone. Every chance I got, I was there, in the porch, playing with the phone. One day, I guess I must have dialed just the right number of times a number that truly existed. I recall being a bit amazed and enthralled by the fact that someone said “Hello.” It was a man’s voice and he repeated the “Hello” a couple of times. I think that I must have said something and I suppose he guessed I was a small child playing with the telephone.
“Who is it?” I asked.
“Santa Claus,” said the man. “Have you been a good boy this year?”
I was a bit perturbed by that question. I mean – that was the 6 million dollar one wasn’t it?
I suppose I told him that I was a good boy and he asked me what I wanted for Christmas. I gave him a few ideas (back then, I don’t recall wanting everything like kids seem to now).
“Well, perhaps I can talk to your Mother now and see what she thinks?” asked Santa.
I complied and went off to fetch my Mum who reluctantly and disbelievingly followed me to the phone. I recall she talked to Santa for a few minutes. She had a smile on her face and was laughing so it seemed all good news to me.
Of course, I was gently admonished for touching the phone but she told me Santa was impressed and would do his best to bring the gifts I had asked for.
I don’t recall if he did but I do recall talking with Santa.
I wonder who he was? I do know though that it stuck in my mind and when I finally was confronted with the truth that it was all a charade, I couldn’t quite believe it. After all, I had spoken to him!
Plainly, the 1960’s were a much more innocent age.