It was the Saturday before Easter 1951. I was nine years old and in Grade 4. My little sister Miss Em and I were playing hopscotch on the front walk. I felt a call of nature and went inside the house to use the washroom. But something looked strange. The kitchen door was closed. Mom never closed that door, so why was it closed now? Besides I could hear my big sister Carolyn in there talking. So why were Mom and Carolyn in the kitchen with the door closed? Something was fishy. I decided to find out for myself, so I opened the door.
At first I couldn't believe my eyes. There was Carolyn dipping a hardboiled egg into a glass bowl of purple dye. Beside her on the white kitchen table were other bowls, each with a different color dye in it. But what felt like a kick in the stomach was the metal tray of brightly dyed Easter Eggs at her elbow, and three Easter baskets filled with green crepe paper grass, differently colored jelly beans and milk chocolate bunnies propped against their sides.
I looked at Mom and said, "You mean YOU'RE the Easter bunny?"
It was like a horrible lightbulb was going off in my head.
"And Santa Claus?"
"And the Tooth Fairy???"
You see, I was the last kid in my class to believe in such things. I had so trusted my parents that when they'd assured me that Santa Claus, the Easter Bunny and the Tooth Fairy were real, how could I not believe them? I knew I could trust Mom and Dad to tell me the truth. Even though my friends laughed at me and said I was a baby, I stuck to my guns.
As I stood in our kitchen on that warm sunny day, my eyes filled with tears not so much because I cared whether or not Santa Claus, the Easter Bunny and the Tooth Fairy really existed, but because I knew I could never again trust my parents. That was the day I became a skeptic. And now it is my healthy skepticism that serves me well in this country where liars lead and the gullible follow. Thanks Mom and Dad for teaching me not to believe everything I hear.
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