Once upon a time, I was very small and had very limited knowledge of the world around me, but that didn't stop me from figuring things out... my own way.
A few houses up the street from where I grew up lived an elderly couple who were very much my surrogate grandparents. Their names were Jane and Emery. For reasons I never knew, everyone called Emery "Chub," so that's who I knew him as. Jane and Chub were a large part, and one of the best parts, of my world.
Something called Christmas was coming up, though I knew little about it. My dad got a tree and stood it up in the living room, though nobody seemed to think that this was strange, and put shiny balls on it that I wasn't allowed to touch because they could break. A special little open-faced house was placed on top of our television where all the little dolls in it were fixed to gaze lovingly at a special baby. The record player played special tunes that I knew had something to do with the tree and the little house, but these things weren't customarily explained to very small children.
One thing that everyone frequently did talk to me about was Santy Claus, an old man dressed in red who was going to give presents to me and my brothers. My experience with Christmas and Santy Claus was very limited at the time and I'm not sure if I had retained any information from the previous year concerning this mysterious man.
This Christmas thing finally did arrive and with it came Santy Claus!
He didn't come down the chimney, the way that he did in legend. Instead he knocked on the front door and came in when my dad answered. My brothers, who are older than me, were quick to point out that Santy was wearing Chub's glasses! They were right! I knew those glasses. Plus, Jane came in the door right after him. I knew exactly who wore the red suit!
It all made sense to me at that point. Chub was Santy Claus! It even said so in the book that was read to me frequently at that time of year, The Night Before Christmas, right in the line that read, "He was Chubby and plump..." What more proof was needed?
Chub was really and truly Santy Claus!
The rest of the world could go ahead and believe that he lived at the North Pole. Now I knew that he lived in secret, living a normal life, just a few houses down from me, where I got to enjoy him all year round. The rest of the world could believe in the fantasy all they wanted to, because I knew that it would be wrong to spill Chub's secret. Even when other kids would tell me that Santa Claus (yes, they always said his name wrong) wasn't real, I never told them that he was my neighbor. I would rather look foolish to them than to betray my friend.
I kept his secret too, long after Jane and Chub had left our world. Even so, Santy Claus is real!