Yesterday I received a package from Lochcarron of Scotland in North Conway, NH. It was sent priority mail in a small box which was very light. I opened it up and something soft and green was inside. It was a wool Tam o'Shanter or Scottish cap, called a "Tam" for short.
The package was sent Priority Mail on December 20, 2013 and arrived here three days later. There was no note or gift tag in the box. The only return address was to the store in New Hampshire. I looked up Lochcarron on the internet. The only online store is in Scotland and all of the prices are in pounds.
A Secret Santa is someone who gives a gift anonymously, usually as part of a group gift swap. These are typically held at work, where each person would pull a name from a hat to be that person's Secret Santa. Then there would be a gift exchange and each recipient would have to guess who their Secret Santa is. Sometimes there would be clues, but other times the only clue would be the gift and how appropriate or inappropriate it was.
This Tam is very appropriate for me. The Tartan was designed by Lochcarron in 2002 for Tartan Day in New York City and is the New York City Tartan. This is appropriate because I was born and grew up in New Rochelle, NY, famous for being only "45 minutes from Broadway."
When I was in my teens I used to take the train on Saturdays from New Rochelle to New York City (aka Manhattan) to take acting lessons at the American Academy of Dramatic Arts in the morning and sneak into Broadway matinees in the afternoon.
We used to call it "Second acting," at least I called it that. A couple of us from the teen program would mingle with the theater crowds during the break between Act I and Act II when theater goers would come out to stretch their legs or smoke a cigarette.
Everyone smoked back then, except me. Nobody would take me seriously with a cigarette, even when I was in my twenties. So fortunately I never developed that habit. I have enough bad habits. It's good I skipped that one.
When the crowds went back in, we'd walk in with them. Most of the time the ushers never checked the ticket stubs. Then we'd stand in the back in "Standing Room" and scan the orchestra for empty seats.
When it looked like everyone had taken their seat, we'd grab whichever ones were empty and watch the rest of the show. My acting lessons came in handy if I was challenged about the seat. "Oh, yes this is my seat. I've been here the whole show." I was never told to leave.
In 1966 I traveled through Europe wearing a red plaid Tam, probably Royal Stewart. I took a bus trip to central England, which wasn't a touristy thing. All of the other riders were Brits, but they knew I was an American from my Tam. They said nobody in Britain would wear one like that.
Here's a selfie of me in my new New York City tam.
It looks bluish in the photo, but it is various shades of light green, dark green, and black with red stripes. It's a perfect color for me, bringing out the green in my eyes.
If anyone reading this knows who sent it please let me know, and tell my Secret Santa I want to thank him or her.