THE CHRISTMAS AND EASTER EXPERIENCES

While Mr. Holmes was principal at Wilbur Wright, the school presented a Christmas and Easter play each year. The plays were started when he was principal at Steele High School and had continued for over thirty years. They were referred to, not as plays, but as "experiences." A chorus of a hundred voices sang, and an orchestra of thirty played from the balcony while seventy actors performed from the stage. The "experiences" used elaborate costuming and scenery that was considered "sacred," and therefore forbidden to be used in any other plays.

A new drama teacher was told by Mr.  Holmes that the junior class play and the senior class play were insignificant, and if the teacher wanted to keep his job, he must do a good job on the Christmas and Easter experiences.

The new teacher was able to produce and direct the Christmas experience satisfactorily, and after getting married the following February, he had tryouts for the Easter experience. The play required a Christ, twelve disciples, three Mary's, and seventy extras. Only five girls and one boy with a thick German accent turned out for the tryouts. When a second tryout gave the same results, the young teacher went to the principal for advice. "Don't worry about it, " Mr. Holmes said. ", you're married now and settled down. Next year, get started earlier with tryouts, and everything will be all right."

At this stage of the old principal's life, he was getting a little forgetful, and it was soon forgotten that it was he who had made the decision to cancel the play. A few days later when someone called the school and asked -why we were not doing the Easter experience, he called the drama teacher to his office and reprimanded him for his failure to present the "experience." Periodically, for the next several weeks, the drama teacher, received increasingly severe reprimands.

Then, just before Easter, the principal learned that the drama teacher was directing an Easter play for WHIO T.V. Mr. Holmes was furious. The louder he shouted at the young teacher, the redder his face became. He even had the assistant principal present as a witness in case of a confrontation. He was upset that the teacher was directing an outside production. when he had failed to do the school play. He somehow 'associated the failure to do the Easter experience with the teacher's recent marriage. His emotion finally overflowed when he screamed, "The audacity of it! Getting married before a major production!" The drama teacher thought he was joking, and fell back on the principal's sofa laughing.

"The old fella really has a sense of humor to pull my leg like that," thought the teacher. When the drama teacher looked at the*assistant principal's face, he knew immediately that the principal had not been joking.

Jay William Holmes took his Christmas and Easter experiences seriously.

 

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