December 2000


By the time this newsletter reaches you, the preparations for this year's Flying Santa flights should be complete. The Friends of Flying Santa have planned three flights to visit the families at 31 New England lighthouses and 2 USCG boat stations. The first flight will be on Saturday, December 9th. WCVB-TV Boston and Wiggins Airways will fly our Santa, USCG CWO David Waldrip, on the Massachusetts Bay trip. We will stop at Newburyport Harbor (Plum Island), Annisquam Harbor, Eastern Point, Boston, Scituate and Plymouth (Gurnet) Lighthouse. We will also make stops at USCG Stations Point Allerton and Cape Cod Canal.

On Sunday, December 10th, Santa returns to the sky. On this flight, our Santa will be George Morgan accompanied by our photographer, Brian Tague and this year's elf, Diane Waldrip. Our pilot for the day will be Dale Hardy from Wiggins Airways. Dale has been safely flying us for over ten years and we look forward to having him at the controls once again. This is an all day adventure for us and before the day is over, we will have covered four states from Massachusetts to New York. Our stops will include: Cape Cod (Highland), Chatham, Brant Point, West Chop, Nobska, Warwick, Castle Hill, Point Judith, Montauk, Stratford Point, and Lynde Point Light, finishing the day at Eaton's Neck Light on the western end of Long Island.

Our third flight will take place on Saturday, December 16th. George and Brian will fly out of Portsmouth, NH, courtesy of Fisher Scientific and their always amiable pilots, Tom Clegg and Art Godjikian. We will visit the following lighthouses; Portsmouth Harbor, Goat Island, Portland Head, Burnt Island, Pemaquid Point, Marshall Point, Owl's Head, Browns Head, Dyce Head, Fort Point, Bass Harbor Head and finish up the day at USCG Station Jonesport. In the three days, we will meet, and distribute LEGO toys to, hundreds of children of USCG personnel. In addition, each lighthouse will receive our traditional Christmas gift box containing candy, potato chips, coffee, tea, shaving products and ornaments. Many of the same staples that Capt. Wincapaw and Edward Rowe Snow delivered on their flights so many years ago. As always, none of this would be possible without the wonderful support and contributions of our many Friends and sponsors.

CHRISTMAS MEMORIES - A Lighthouse Keeper's Daughter - 1940-1957
By Seamond Ponsart Roberts

It was the year 1945 and I was the lighthouse keeper's daughter at Cuttyhunk Island Lighthouse where my father kept the light located at the western end of the island. My mother had read a story that the Flying Santa, Edward Rowe Snow, would be flying that Christmas, dropping presents to the families at the lights. In October, she wrote him telling of our family and that I was a little five-year-old girl who would really love to get a doll from the Flying Santa. From October to December, every time I saw an airplane I wondered if it was the Flying Santa. I still remember that very special day. All the built up excitement has been etched in my mind forever. When the plane came over and circled we were ready. We had a dory ready for the ocean; and a second one for the pond (in case the bombardier was "off target" and we would have to fish the packages out of the water). Three packages fell!! One did make the pond and dad had to row out and get it. No problem though. Santa had the packages heavily wrapped. Two packages made the ground - one hit a huge boulder that was part of the Cuttyhunk Island landscape. We all rushed to the house with excitement to open our packages. Mr. Snow always included wonderful things in his packages including books, magazines, candy, little odds and ends and always one of his new books. However, I knew that this year in one of those packages would be my brand new doll!! After all, he did promise mother. There it was in the last package. Unfortunately, this was the package that hit the boulder and my doll was smashed into pieces!! I could not believe it. My doll, that I had waited so long for. The one Santa had promised me and it was broken.

I was inconsolable, and as mother put it in the next letter she sent to the Flying Santa, I cried myself to sleep that night. Well, my father patched up the doll as best he could (after all, daddy being a lighthouse keeper he could fix anything!) This became my play-sick doll, complete with Band-Aids and slings. Still, I was so disappointed. That year, the disappointment over the doll was not anywhere near as bad as finding out our lighthouse had been condemned and would be torn down. My family ended up being the last family to live there. We were transferred to West Chop Lighthouse the following year. Flying Santa had received the letter explaining of this little girl's broken heart. He could not bear to have this little girl so broken hearted. So the next Christmas, he chartered a helicopter and landed on Martha's Vineyard to pay a personal visit to me. He landed at the Gay Head Lifesaving Station and there, like a fairy tale, I had Santa Claus hand me a doll to replace the broken one. It was so touching, nearly everyone was in tears. Did I ever have a big hug for this hero of mine.

I'm 60 now and have to say, in all my life, that was a pinnacle event. Mr. Snow knew this would make me happy and he did it because he was a big-hearted man and knew the real meaning of reaching out to people. Mr. Snow continued to deliver many more Christmas packages to our family. Upon my father's retirement we continued to stay in contact with the Snow family. After Mr. Snow's death, I kept in touch with Mrs. Snow and to this day, continue to write his daughter, Dolly. They will continue to be a part of me because of those special times Mr. Snow delivered love from an airplane.



The Friends of Flying Santa have been most fortunate over the years to have a great group of sponsors. Some of them have been with the Flying Santa program for over 60 years. Their donations of money, products and services are most appreciated. We thank them for their continuing dedication to the Flying Santa program. Without their help, it would not be possible to carry out our annual visits to the lighthouses. We would like to pay special notice to the following companies and organizations: The La Touraine Coffee Co, The Gillette Co., Wiggins Airways, Fisher Scientific International, Cape Cod Potato Chip Co., Building 19, Lego Corporation, Lighthouse Depot, Yankee Magazine, Brady Enterprises, Weymouth, MA Lodge of Elks, Talbot's, Nantasket Pharmacy, The Fruit Center, Harbour Lights, Lillian Jacobs School and WCVB TV-5.




Looking for a special Christmas gift for a family member, friend or lighthouse lover? Consider something from the Friends of Flying Santa gift collection. We have available T-shirts and sweatshirts, refrigerator magnets, baseball caps and our popular coffee mug. We also still have on hand a limited amount of our famous Collection of Flying Santa's Lighthouse Recipes cookbooks. We ship all items out by USPS Priority Mail on the same day we receive your order. Look for our order form in this newsletter.


A DOUBLE CHRISTMAS GIFT - Yankee Magazine's Community Partners Program

Here is an opportunity for our friends to give a double Christmas present through Yankee Magazine's Community partners program. By ordering a subscription for yourself or a friend, an additional gift is made to the Friends of Flying Santa Endowment Fund. Yankee Magazine's regular price for a one-year subscription is $24.00 per year. They are offering a discounted price of $20.00 for the Friends of Flying Santa and donating $10.00 from each subscription back to our endowment fund. They will also include a copy of their famous Yankee Church Supper Cookbook. Through this offer, our endowment fund has already received close to $1000.00. Enclosed in this newsletter you will find a postage paid order form. You may also renew through this offer if you are already a subscriber to Yankee. If you need additional forms you may copy the one enclosed or let us know and we will be happy to send some along. Yankee Magazine makes a great gift that keeps on giving all year long.



Published 4 times
per year.
Brian Tague
The cost of printing our newsletter is partially funded by
the Plymouth County Development Council


PO BOX 80047
Stoneham, MA 02180-0001
Tel: (781) 438-4587