Each afternoon a long queue of children and parents wended down the sidewalk and curled around the corner. Several times each year, I would step to the end of that line and go through. Santa probably wondered why I squinted at him, but I was trying to see the man beyond his disguise. I played the game and give him my wish list, and then Mary Christmas handed me a whistle lollipop, all the while giving me that "Haven't you been here a few other times this year?" look. The lollipop was what I really wanted.
The Santa in the shack did not sound at all like the Santa on WCTW. The latter's voice was deep and jolly. He seemed genuinely interested in the children who called in their requests. Years later, that radio Santa became the publisher of a local weekly. He gave me my first writing job. He paid me to do what I loved. Imagine that! Merry Christmas!
Note: Santa, pictured above, occasionally disguises himself at Stephen Hollen, a storyteller of some renown, though he may also appear as Mark Twain, Buffalo Bill Cody, "Doc" Hollen, Ebenezer Scrooge (yes, it's true), and other nefarious characters.