For those little readers, this story in no way claims there is no Santa. Sometimes Santa gets so busy that he gets a head start on gifts by leaving them in places well ahead of schedule.
I was raised, for the most part, in a single parent household. It was my mother, sister, brother and myself. I was the oldest of the kids so I got to play dad a lot when my mom would work late or have to go out of town on business. I would cook dinner. Help with homework. Make sure chores were done. And occasionally make my brother wear his breakfast after school because he did not eat it that morning. Times were different then. I say "then" meaning the late70's early 80's. Plus my brother is twice my size now and I don't think I could make him wear his breakfast anymore.
I was a KISS fan growing up. I had the KISS Alive II album. Yes. I said album. Some of you out there still remember vinyl? They say it is making a comeback. I had the KISS dolls and the comic books that were supposed to have their blood in the ink. I was Ace Frehley for Halloween. I was able to go to a KISS concert with my cousin at the Omni in Atlanta. That was only my second concert ever. My first was John Denver and Starland Vocal Band with my mother.
The year was 1978 and KISS was coming out with solo albums: Gene Simmons, Paul Stanley, Ace Frehley and Peter Criss. Each cover was of their face. I asked Santa for those albums. I was not sure if I would get them but they were the only things on my list. I also figured I was a good boy that year and only abused my sister and brother a little.
We lived in a two story house with an attic. I had discovered the previous year that Santa liked to hide presents in our attic about two to three weeks before their official arrival date. One of those things you find out when mom works late and you look for new places to hide from your brother. I would spend a lot of time in the attic just looking at my toys to be and visualizing what it was going to be like on Christmas morning. I would hate it when I found out my brother was getting the big Tonka trucks. They hurt when thrown at you.
During one of my attic visits, I saw all four KISS albums just leaning against some other toys. Was I dreaming. Were they really there. They began calling my name. Hold us. Look at us. See our song list. LISTEN to us. What? LISTEN to us. Now? NOW. The only way I can do that is to take you guys from the attic and put you on my record player. Oh, come on. We won't tell. Damn that Gene Simmons.
I took all four albums to my room and carefully sliced open the cellophane so as not to leave any evidence for the naked eye. My plan was to listen to each album for a little while and then return them before mom got home. I said that was my plan. It worked out well at first. Damn that Paul Stanley.
I began to get greedy. I would keep the albums in my room for a couple of days at a time. I sometimes played them while my mother was home. As long as I hid the album covers, she would not know the songs if she walked in my room. About three days before Christmas, I returned them back to the attic for the final time so that Santa could make sure they made it under the tree.
On Christmas Eve morning my father would pick us kids up and take us to our Grandparents for dinner and gift exchanges. He would bring us back home that night. On the way home we would listen to the Santa report on the AM radio. All I could think about was officially listening to my KISS albums in the morning.
We get to the house and my mom tells my dad that she needs to talk to him. I don't think anything of it. I then get called in to my mom's room where they are both standing by her bathroom. She said she wants to show me something in the bathroom. I walk in and see the four KISS albums leaning against the vanity mirror. I smile as if surprised. There are also three more KISS albums next to them minus Peter Criss. I am really surprised then. I am thinking there must have been some kind of miscommunication issue with a family member. Why buy me more KISS albums. I was WAY off base.
My mother explained to me, in that tone that only a mother can use and not get the law called on her, what had happened. She was in the attic conducting an inventory when she noticed there were no KISS albums. She looked all over the attic. She checked it twice. I know by now who was naughty and who was nice. She remembered paying for them but thought that maybe she left them at the store. She went to the store and spoke with a manager, again using that tone that only a mother could use. She was told that there were no KISS albums found. She bought three more KISS albums. She did not buy Peter Criss because my grandmother was going to do that. When she went back in to the attic to put the new KISS albums up she saw the first ones there. Now how could that be. Did she overlook them the first time. She picked one up and discovered, with her naked eye, that it had been opened. She also saw that the other three had been opened as well. Busted I was.
"What do you suppose we do about this?" She said to me. I should have thought about my response before I just blurted it out. "Why don't we take back the unopened ones and buy me something different," my knucklehead said. Don't say another word. "And I can take back the one that nanny is giving me and get a different album." There. I said it. Let's just say that my idea was not entertained. I was told that from now on I would be helping put out the toys each Christmas since I knew where they were being kept. My gifts would not be kept in the attic. Probably not even on the property. And the official listening party for the KISS albums would be sometime in March.
That is how I became one of Santa's many helpers. And to you kids out there. CD's are much harder to open secretly.