While we were visiting the little town of Mendocino we stopped for a late lunch at the Goodlife Cafe and Bakery. While we were waiting for our order an older gentleman came over and asked if I would like to read his book (he explained it would only take 10 minutes or so to read it) so I agreed. I recognized the book cover and being a “bookie” from way back decided that there was no need to hurry through the book because I’d soon own it – after all, it was signed and I had just met the author.
After awhile he left his wife at their table and came over to ours. JP bought me the book and the author Jay, answered some of our questions. Jay Frankston came here from Paris in 1942 and has been married to his wife Monique for 67 years. They have a daughter Claire who was 10 when the book was first published in 1977. They are survivors of the Holocaust. He is 89 years old and has been a lawyer, writer, sculpter and teacher. He told us this book has been published in 15 languages. The book is called A Christmas Story and is the true story of how a letter to Santa, in the thousands that were being held at the post office became an opportunity for him to make a difference.
Jay became a Jewish Santa for 18 kids (that number grew to something like 120 kids). In time toy stores and companies made enough donations that he used his entire basement for storage until Christmas Eve and Christmas Day.
I found all of this so touching. I fought getting teary several times. The killer was when he told us that his young daughter figured out that her dad was playing Santa. The toys in the basement had given her pause. So she wrote her dad a poem. He then recited her poem to us. It was about how she loved both her dad and Santa and that since they were one in the same that she would be happy to wake up to only hugs and kisses on Christmas morning. He recited it lovingly – OMG my eyes were struggling not to let go a wave of tears by then.
As Jay got ready to catch up with his wife (who I’d guess over 6 decades has heard this conversation a record amount of times) he reminded me that he had signed the book “Pay it forward, Jay Frankston.”
He said that he keeps none of the money he makes from selling the books and that I should read the book and pass it on (no way – not my personal signed copy, Ill have to get another). He also said that we might not be able to fix all the troubles across the ocean but we can help each other, we can and should indeed pay it forward.
So I will do as he suggested and pass this along. Please read his book A Christmas Story if you get a chance. I’ll be looking for chances to PAY IT FORWARD and hope you will too!
More books by Jay Frankston:
And a few of his sculpures: Holocaust and Ladies of the Sea