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December 08, 1957 - Image 8

Resource type:
Michigan Daily, 1957-12-08

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ilG VI



Clothing Salesman Doubles as Santa;
Finds Job Has Rewards, Sorrows

Group Acts as Liaison Body
Between Campus, Alumni




By the Band
Michigan Rhapsody
The Victors

By the Glee Club
The Yellow and Blue
Laudes Atque Carmina
Old Friars' Song
'Tis of Michigan
i Want To Go Back to Michigan
Goddess of the Inland Seas

Never tell anyone you don't be-
lieve in Santa Claus ... he exists.
You can spot his flowing white
beard, bright red suit and pheery
smile everywhere around Christ-
mas time.
He can be seen ringing a bell
for a charity drive on a busy street
corner, handing out gifts to sick
and invalid children in hospitals
or taking orders from hopeful boys
and girls in huge department
Size Varies
He may never look the same.
Sometimes he is short and heavy.
Other times he is rather tall with
some obvious padding..
He will always have a pleasing
dispdsition that fgvors little chil-
Santa Claus 'might be a destitute
bum or a millionaire executive.
He might be a plumber, professor
or lawyer. He could almost be any-
Job Isn't Easy
Being Santa Claus isn't always
easy. It has its rewards and it has
its sorrows. Ben Reagin, a men's
clothing salesman in Detroit's
largest department store, knows.
A short, rotund man in his
fifties, he dons a custom fitted
Santa Claus suit, shaggy white
beard and white gloves during the
month before Christmas. He reigns
as Santa Claus on a red velvet
throne, gift booklets and gumdrops
at his side, for the thousands of
children that shower him with re-
quests every day.
"I don't know exactly why I
was picked to be Santa Claus .. .
maybe it's because I like kids,"
he said adjusting his beard before
going out to the special Santa
Claus room. White-booted, fur-
trimmed pixies scurried about
making last minute preparations.
Attends Special School
"The company sent me to a
special Santa Claus school in Al-
bion, New York for five days. We
were taught how to dress, act and
especially how to deal with chil-
dren," he explained.
"I've received a lot of different
requests," he smiled. "Most of the
children ask for electric trains and
tiny-tear dolls."
"I'll never forget one little girl.
She asked me to bring her mother
back for Christmas. Her father
later explained she had died a few
months before."
Pull Beard
Boys who pull his beard are
Ben's pet peeve. "When they try
to, I dare them to go ahead. I hold
it on beneath my chin with one
hand and make frantic motions
with the other. A little screaming
helps too," he laughed.
"Approximately 14,000 children
visit me each day. We also have
another Santa in a different room
at the same time.
"One hour shifts, one on and

After one year on campus, the
unique Student, Governors Confer-
ence has more than doubled its
membership and is still growing,
according to Stanley Bilsky, '59E,
chairman of the organization's
inter-campus committee.
The group, inaugurated in De-
cember 1956, is a "liaison body"
between the campus and various
University alumni clubs, Bilsky
Each alumni club is represented
by a pair of student governors on
campus, who attempt to strength-
en student - alumni relations
through various methods, includ-
ing keeping the alumni posted on
campus needs, changes and activi-
ties, contacting qualified h i g h
school and prep school students
interested in the University and
meeting and orientating these stu-
dents when they arrive at the Uni-
Prime Function
To bring the needs of the school
to the attention of the alumni is
one of the prime functions of the
group, according to Mrs. Allison
Tennant Myers, Alumnae Secre-
tary of the Alumni Association.
She pointed out the Phoenix
Memorial project as an example..
"This was one area in which the
alumni recognized a definite need
to increase scientific research,"
she said. "Partly from this the
Phoenix Project was born."
At present, Bilsky said, there are
approximately 200 University
alumni, co-ed, and alumnae-clubs
in the world, of which 46 are rep-
resented on campus.

ences. "We usually meet," said
Mrs. Myers, "with members of the
administration to discuss various
aspects of the school, such as the
field of admission." This is fol-
lowed, she continued, by a round-
table discussion.
The next conference will as-
semble Dec. 14 in the Regents
Conference Rm. of the Adminis-
tration Building.
Unique Program
The Student Governors group is
headed by John Pierce, '58M,
chairman; Richard Salo, '58, vice-
chairman; Lois Morse, '58, chair-
man of student information com-
mittee; Judy Reynolds, '58Ed,
chairman of governors commit-
tee; and Bilsky. Mrs. Myers calls
herself an "adviser."
"This is an unique program as
far as we know," Mrs. Myers said,
"We're going to present its general
plan at a Chicago conference in
"We've still got some problems,"
commented Bilsky. "Our main
one," he continued, "is convincing
alumni clubs that we're around."_
He'll love his
(4ue Centep

-Daily-Wesley Kar
THE ARRIVAL-Santa Claus, clothed in his custom-fitted red
suit, established the existence of this fabled character as he makes
his long-awaited visit to Detroit. Climbing out of his sleigh, he
prepares to face thousands of youngsters and to answer their many
varied requests. Santa's job is not easy, but the difficulties are
compensated by his love of children. A pleasing disposition that
favors little children is all that is required for this job. ,


this fine recording
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C>llege Days
C Drink, Drink, Joy Rules the



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NO 2-0675

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one off, help to break up the day,"
he said.
Cites Parents Status
Penciled letters to Santa Claus,
extra beards and bottles of make-
up filled his dressing room. "You
can always tell when a child's
parents are well off. They always
ask for many more toys," he
"We pass out story booklets tell-
ing the story of the North Pole
gardens," Ben continued. "Christ-
mas Carol, my helper, also gives
the children gumdrops to insert
in the book."
A concerned employee motioned
that it was time for him to "go
on." Ben mounted his throne, ad-
justed his giant black belt and
nodded to one of the pixies to open
the door.
Mothers Urge Children
A woman, clutching coats, leg-
gings and caps in her arms, ld her
two sons up to Santa. "Tell Santa
what you want," she encouraged.
"I wan' a horsie 'an a truck," the
first boy stuttered. The 'second
shoved a crumpled note in Santa's
hand and ran crying for the door.
The note listed requests for a
canteen, football, cowboy gun and
a holster. A childish drawing of
Santa Claus accompanied it. Ben

added it to the steadily growing
pile of letters and notes at his side.
A little girl slowly approached
Santa and asked for a typewriter.
"Good girl," he replied. "You learn
how to type real well and maybe
I can use you up at the North
Pole. I always need a good secre-
"Tell Santa what you want- for
Christmas," a young woman en-
couraged her son. "I would like a
red car, baseball bat, toy shaver,
and a snow shovel," he said polite-
ly. "Ronnie," his mother howled,
"I thought you wanted a little
Santa handed him a booklet,
smiled at his mother and said he
would do his best.
"Sometimes I surprise them by
calling them by name," he said,
turning his head to the side.
"Watch the expressions on the
faces of the parents," he laughed,
looking back at the eager children.
The line extended for approxi-
mately 200 feet. It wound around
toy counters, elevators and hurried
Christmas shoppers.
Some were crying, others were
checking their lists for the last
time. Mothers combed their child-
ren's hair and tied their bows and
shoelaces for the moment that
comes but once a year-a visit
with Santa Claus.

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Two student governors represent 31 bldcks from campus
each club at intermittant confer-
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I ' "E t c i F R' Eh "5+
Santa's making his Christmas lst
of gifts he's buying from thels
CJ i ns So
You too will want to make your selections
from our wonderful gifts. She has hinted for
some .. . others will take her by surprise!
" robes * jewelry * formals
" lingerie * jewelry cases " dresses
" petticoats * gloves * suits
1 * bed jackets
b handbags * coats
" hosiery
hosierycase formal bags " jackets
I * hosiery cases
s cologne * skirts
linen towels e billfolds ® slacks
" slippers * French purses " blouses

STORE HOURS: OPEN MONDAY 'TIL 8:30 Tuesday thru Thursday, Saturday 9:30 to 5:30 Friday 9:30 to 6:00
..:t-.. "
hristas Blles
, erfa c etio t
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4 3ZI
Chisma Bllst
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y.,. ,, ..: :": :{;v:;":":". .. s . - : . ". "" . . :: :. o '. .y ~ . 'I
Ljoyou .t"

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