During the Christmas season of 1977, I was obsessed with all things Wonder Woman. The tv show of the same name was televised each week where I was glued to the picture tube waiting to see what adventures Lynda Carter as Diana Prince would go on to help save the world. My friends and I would play outside pretending to be superheroes all the time. I would switch between Wonder Woman and Super Girl, but I always came back to being Wonder Woman if my older friend didn’t try to overrule me.
One Friday night in December, probably December 16th, 1977, we went over to the neighbors’ house around the corner to eat dinner. They always had fish on Fridays, fish they caught that is, and would invite us over periodically. The couple were my parents’ best friends and their back yard, catty cornered, backed up to one of the corners of ours where just a fence separated us. Each day after school, the two matriarchs would have coffee together, switching up houses every other day. To make it easier a few years later, my father built a ladder that draped over the fence they used to go back and forth as the coffee connection. This particular night, we walked around the corner.
Dinner was had by all and very tasty because I was picky, but I loved fried fish. One of the ways my father tricked me into eating it was telling me I needed to eat fish because it would make me smarter; it was brain food. Well, it worked, and I have loved fish ever since. All I could talk about during this Christmas season was what I had asked for from Santa, which was Wonder Woman everything: a costume, a lunchbox, a coloring book, a doll, her tiara, her cuff bracelets, and her golden lasso. My neighbor friend was crazy about Superman, so he understood. He really hoped I would get my wish to receive all these things, especially the golden lasso so we could catch imaginary bad guys and make them tell the truth.
I remember after we ate, we hung around, my friend and I played, and we watched a little tv, and then we walked back around the corner to home. We entered through the front door as we always did. When I came into the living room, something seemed different. The Christmas tree was there on the table and no decorations had been moved, but there was a new item placed on the ground close to the tree. I ran over to see what it was, and I couldn’t believe it. It was a golden lasso and a pair of Wonder Woman’s cuff bracelets. I was so excited I could hardly speak with wonder in my eyes and a smile so big it was like a beacon of happy lights. My father and my mother were also amazed in wonderment of where these mysterious items had come from and who had placed them there while we were gone. I responded to them, “It must be Santa,” but then I questioned myself as soon as I said it, “but why would he come here this early to bring me these? Why not wait until Christmas?” They explained maybe he thought I had been so good, I deserved them early, but then we found a note on the ground that we didn’t see when I first noticed the cuffs and lasso. The note simply said, “For Carmen.” It wasn’t signed; that was all the words written on it.
Immediately, I went into detective mode questioning everyone. Was it really Santa? Or, was it someone trying to be sneaky to surprise me? My parents and my brothers all denied leaving those under the tree. I called my friend and he denied it as well, but was so excited for me. I took the note and compared the writing to each of my parent’s and my brother’s handwriting with no luck. I remember wishing I had a fingerprinting kit to find the culprit. Or a video camera in the house to catch them red-handed. No one would admit to it, so I concluded it must be Santa.
Christmas came and went that year, not really talking about who left the lasso and cuffs. My friends and I would continue to play superheroes, and with those items, I would always be Wonder Woman, feeling strong ready to catch those who were plotting evil courses towards humanity.
Forty-two years later, I still don’t know who left my Wonder Woman treasures that December eve so long ago. We truly never talked about it ever again. It was the acceptance of Santa or someone special left those there for me, and that was that. It was a Christmas I will never forget, and I will always treasure because it made me feel so special. It gave me wonderful memories of my father and mother who most likely were behind the antics of that mysterious night. One never knows what magic Christmas can bring.