Late last week Lisbeth Plant submitted a letter to the Citizen offices, but it was not a letter to the editor.
It was a letter from her husband Billy Plant, to Santa Claus, from back in 1933. He was six at the time.
(Obviously he wasn’t her husband when he was six. but you probably figured that out.)
The 84-year-old letter has the sweetest, tidiest printing — with carefully punctuated sentences and, like most letters to the Big Guy, it included a request for toys.
Little Billy Plant knew exactly what he wanted and he matter-of-factly asked for it, too. No beating around the bush for Billy. The letter, in its entirety, reads:
Dear Santa Claus,
Please bring me something for Christmas.
I would like a train, and a crane.
That was it. A train and a crane. It took just 20 words to get his point across. I’m sure Santa would have loved his brevity, given the volume of letters he tends to receive.
It’s an old adage and I certainly don’t claim to have come up with it, but the more things change, the more they stay the same sometimes. By that I mean, it’s refreshing because, to this day, what little boy wouldn’t want a train and a crane? What’s different now, I suppose, is I am certain there are a great many little girls out there these days who wouldn’t mind those as gifts, as well. I know both my kids would be thrilled if Santa deposited those under their tree.
Now roughly 90 years old, young Billy Plant is one of the few remaining Second World War veterans left. He served in the navy. Born in Chemainus, he grew up in Ladysmith and now lives in Cobble Hill.
Now, what I don’t understand is how the Plants still are in possession of this special letter.
“When we were married in 1999 we went through some old boxes that he had and I found that letter folded up in an old envelope,” Lisbeth explained. “I thought ‘gosh, this is so precious’ so I framed it and every Christmas we bring it out and it hangs as a Christmas decoration.”
How sweet is that? Grab your toothbrush because it gets even sweeter.
“After we’d been married a few years, I actually gave him a train for his Christmas present,” Mrs. Plant said with a giggle.
Young or old, trains are just plain cool.
I do wonder, though, if six-year-old Billy ever did get his requests fulfilled back in 1933. If he’s still in possession of the letter does that mean it never made it to Santa Claus? Or did Santa have some other way of knowing what Billy wished for? Perhaps some questions are best left up to the wide-eyed imaginations of our children…