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By Laura Moore
Special to The PREVIEW
“I am 8 years old. Some of my little friends say there is no Santa Claus. Papa says, ‘If you see it in The Sun, it’s so.’ Please tell me the truth, is there a Santa Claus?
Her letter found its way into the hands of a veteran editor, Francis P. Church. Church had worked on The New York Sun for 20 years as an anonymous editorial writer.
When controversal subjects had to be tackled on the editorial page, especially those dealing with theology, the assignments were usually given to Church. Now, he had in his hands a little girl’s letter on a most controversial matter, and he was burdened with the responsibility of answering it.
“Is there a Santa Claus?” the childish scrawl in the letter asked. At once, Church knew that there was no avoiding the question. He must answer, and he must answer truthfully. And so he turned to his desk, and he began his reply which was to become one of the most memorable editorials in newspaper history.
The Whatchamawhozit Children’s Theatre program at the Pagosa Springs Center for the Arts is presenting their stage play “Yes, Virginia, There is a Santa Claus” on Saturday, Dec. 7, at 5 p.m. and Sunday, Dec. 8, at 2 p.m. Tickets are $5 and can be purchased at the door a half hour before the show starts. The play runs for 50 minutes and presents the work of 17 young actors ranging from 7 to 12 years old.