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Arts & Culture

Two Christmases: Home And Away

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Jerry Kenney

 

Christmas can be such a wonderful time of year. For some, it can be a time of reflection of the year swiftly falling behind us, or a reminder of Christamses long long ago. For others, the holiday can bring feelings of uncertainty - for the new year in front of us, and maybe of the Christmases yet to come. In this special program, we bring you two such stories - both with ties to Yellow Springs, Ohio.

 

First, we’ll hear a reading of Welsh poet Dylan Thomas’s “A Child’s Christmas in Wales.” This reading was presented several years ago when WYSO’s Archives Fellow Jocelyn Robinson revived a recording that was made over 40 years ago.

 

Beginning in the 1950s, Meredith Dallas, or Dal, as most people knew him, taught in the Antioch College Theatre Department. Legend has it that for years, Dal would read “A Child’s Christmas in Wales” on Christmas Eve for his family and friends. Then, in 1976, before he retired, Dal recorded the poem for a WYSO holiday broadcast.

 

 

The reel-to-reel tape that Jocelyn Robinson recovered from the archives had deteriorated enough so that the first few minutes of our digitized copy were unairable. She came up with a great fix, though:  Dal’s son, Tony Dallas, now reads the first passages; and at just about two minutes in to the reading, you can hear the wonderful hand-off of the poem from son to father.

 

Then, later in the hour you’ll hear a reading of the short story - Spring Early, written by Yellow Springs writer, Scott Geisel. His short story "Spring Early" was published by the Kent University Press as part of an anthology called “Christmas stories of Ohio.” The story appeared alongside others by Paul Laurence Dunbar, Nikki Giovanni, Langston Hughes, James Thurber and others.

 

When WYSO first aired the story in 2010, it was narrated by Mary Donahoe, a former theatre arts professor at Wright State University. Sadly, Donahoe passed away in November of this year. And so we feel especially blessed to be able to bring you the story again this year.