by Liz Ireland
When I was a growing up, Christmas season had a definite beginning, and it wasn’t the day after Thanksgiving. It was the moment the Sears Wish Book catalog was delivered into my eager little hands. The Wish Book was hundreds of pages of toys, clothes, and games, but for several years running, my wishes were pinned on one page in particular: the ventriloquist dolls.
What was going through my head? By this time I already had a small collection of marionettes and I’d been boring family and classmates for years with puppet shows. Now I was ready to up my game with a Charlie McCarthy replica. (Although, as I specified to Santa each year in my detailed, annotated lists, I would’ve been happy with Lester or Willie Talk, too…but not Bozo. I had my pride.)I also loved all the ventriloquists on television—Wayland and Madam, Willie Tyler and Lester, and the Chuck and Bob characters on the TV series Soap.I was always shy, but I harbored dreams of knocking the world cold with laughs via a plastic dummy.
I was an incredibly lucky kid, and Christmas mornings always delivered more bounty than I deserved. For some puzzling reason, though, the ventriloquist doll never appeared under the tree. I would make a mental note of this oversight and determine to write a more urgent plea the next year. Santa never budged, though. Perhaps this hesitance sprang from the same place that makes parents reluctant to buy their adolescent a drum kit. Or maybe Santa was trying to save me from my worst impulses toward public humiliation.
Whatever the reason, the wish went unfulfilled, and eventually, sadly, I outgrew the Wish Book. But the performing dream lived on. I caught the theater bug in high school—and what is acting if not a highly developed form of being your own ventriloquist dummy? This led to playwriting in college, which segued into novel writing in adulthood. And just as I loved the absurd fun of a character who speaks through a doll, and movie musicals with characters bursting into song and dance, I still enjoy stories where there’s an edge of fantasy. Which is why I love escaping into writing the Mrs. Claus mystery series, where people and murder live alongside elves , sentient snowmen, and talking reindeer.
So while all Christmas dreams don’t come true, I’m convinced some of the unfulfilled wishes stay with us longer than the toys and games that end up in the attic. Did you ever have a Christmas wish that was “the one that got away”?
Liz Ireland is the author of many works of women’s fiction, romance, and mystery. She also writes under the names Elizabeth Bass and Liz Freeland. Like her character April Claus, Liz spends too much time in concert bands. Originally from the United States, she now lives on Vancouver Island in British Columbia.
For Additional Information, Please Visit Her Website: https://lizireland.wordpress.com/