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
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
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