Gone are the days when a simple box of paints or school book was all you wished for on Christmas.
But for 7-year-old Homer Mellen in 1915, those very basic items, along with a handful of other equally unassuming gifts, were all the boy from London, Ontario, had hoped to receive from Santa.
“It says so much about the lack of appreciation for those things that truly are a special gift,” Homer’s son, Larry Mellen, 79, told GoodMorningAmerica.com of his father’s modest Christmas wish list compared to those of children today. “We just take it for granted that you’re going to have that stuff at Christmas time, or any other time for that matter.”
Homer’s perfectly penned, remarkably polite, nearly 100-year-old note to Santa Claus will stop you in your tracks before adding another bullet point to your wish list this holiday season.
“Dear Santa Claus,” the boy begins in cursive handwriting. “Will you please send me a box of paints, also a nine cent reader, and a school bag to put them in.”
He modestly continues, “And if you have any nuts, or candy, or toys to spare, would you kindly send me some.” If so, Homer concludes, “You will please a seven year old boy.”
The Mellen family kept and cherished this note for 98 years in a little box containing “private little things like locks of hair, or the first picture that was taken,” Mellen explained, in order to “put away for memories for grandchildren.”
And that’s exactly what Homer’s humble wish list had done, as his granddaughter, Laurie Bloomfield, 49, of Nova Scotia, shared it with us after reading a recent story about one little girl’s extravagant expectations from Santa this year.
“I’m a teacher, so as teacher I get to hear a lot of kids’ wishes,” Bloomfield said. “What I find with this generation is they want to talk a lot, they want to put out a lot of information. They have lots to say and want to tell it all.”
That certainly seems true with the little girl’s list that ended up going wildly viral last week with one of the 17 items on the list being “A little thing that can turn into anything at anytime,” which her father was quick to point out was impossible, flatly responding, “You cannot have this.”
The little girl also asked for “1,000 bucks,” to which her dad quipped, “This is Christmas, not an Italian wedding.”
“We just take for granted that whatever we want out there we can have, and that isn’t the case,” said Mellen. “When my father was young, to put your stocking up with care and knowing that you were going to get maybe an orange, that was the magic of Christmas.”
Mellen believes his father did indeed receive the reader, which was a book required for school, because otherwise he “no doubt would have been borrowing somebody else’s,” and also the candies and Christmas nuts “he would have gotten as a special treat.”