Germany: Ore Mountains - Seiffen Nutcracker Factory

I wish I could show you what the luncheon table looked like the other day when the Alameda High School friends met for lunch. Going to the same restaurant in Alameda almost ensures us of the same table for eight we have become accustomed to. It is on the water overlooking the whole of the San Francisco skyline which is a treat in itself if the sky is clear and blue. On some days another group may have confiscated it and we just give them our disgruntled old lady stares until they look sufficiently guilty.

We don’t do table decorations so it was a surprise and a treat to find a small wooden nutcracker at each place, and our former ballet dancer already there with a catnip smile on her face as she chortled “Seventy-two years!”

This is the seventy second anniversary of the Nutcracker Ballet in San Francisco, and what makes it special to us is that our friend danced in it for the very first performance and for the next eleven years. She was Clara in the first performance, and said they all played every part. She was glad not to have ever played the Mouse! I asked her when they started rehearsing for it each year and she remembered it as being in October and fitting it in between school.

She danced with the San Francisco company as well as the New York Ballet before retiring and teaching other fortunate young dancers. The mother of one of the other members of our little group was her first teacher, and was herself a ballet mistress in both New York and Montreal, Canada. Coincidentally, a 92 year old neighbor took her dancing lessons from this lady as well.

Tchaikovsky composed The Nutcracker Ballet in 1892 and it was an immediate success, and of course, has spread all over the world with Christmas performances thrilling both children and parents ever since. When it appeared in San Francisco in 1962, my children and I were in attendance as well as in succeeding years until they married and moved away. It was a very special before-Christmas treat with all of us dressed in our holiday finery. Their own children were introduced to that wonderful music and colorful costumes in their own time in both Seattle and Santa Barbara.


13 comments on “AT A MEETING OF THE GIRLS

  1. What a great post. It’s a special ballet. Exquisite. I danced around my home to it when I was about 10. Ah, the pas-de-deux. Makes the hair stand up on the back of my neck. xx


  2. It is a delightful beginning to the Holiday season too. I remember going to that first time in S.F. with my mother in 1942 to see y friend dance. I thought she was so special up here on that big stage! I can just see you at 10 doing your Nutcracker dance!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. People who stay living in the same place and can thus retain their friends are very lucky …


  4. Or in my case, resume friendships after 50 years! It isn’t easy, but you find that the people you overlooked that long ago, are people you really like today. We only got back together 10-15 years ago when all of us thought the annual alumni group was a bore.

    Liked by 2 people

  5. I remember with delight my childhood trip to see and hear the Nutcracker Ballet. I was nearly delirious with the joy of it.


  6. The music still thrills me each season even though we no longer go see the ballet. It seems to herald the holiday season.


  7. The Nutcracker always has been a favorite. I saw it performed live for the first time at the Houston Ballet, and then again in Kansas City. I don’t believe I’d go again, but the music is delightful. And what a wonderful gesture your friend made, to set the table with Nutcrackers as a token of remembrance.

    One of the friends who was with me on my recent trip dates back to 1973.We lost track of one another, then re-found each other through one of my customers — that was about 20 years ago. It is wonderful to have long-term relationships, even if they’re only over 20-30 years, rather than a lifetime. Quality substitutes quite nicely for quantity — that’s what we tell one another.

    I just happen to have a snapshot of me at the height of my career as a ballerina, taken on the sidewalk in front of my grandmother’s house. Even in small town Iowa, we loved the arts!


    • Adorable as I knew it would be in your little tutu. I love the music, but once a year for that is satisfying enough.

      You are so right about long term friendships. When your heart connects with someone it doesn’t matter if it’s 10 hours or ten years does it? We are such unique creatures—it is useless to seek only one person to be on the same wave length, but now and then—–

      I know you must have had lots of fun on your trip and are filled with more stories for us.


  8. Watching the Nutcracker in expensive seats is a whole lot better than watching from the seats where we needed oxygen to fully breathe.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. What a lovely picture you paint! That must be wonderful meeting up with such good friends in such a beautiful spot. Thank you so much for your follow!


  10. Hello Kayti. I smiled at the picture you paint of you and the ladies giving your best disgruntled stares at the intruders at your favorite table. The very nerve! How very special The Nutcracker is to your friend as she looks back seventy-two years long past. I simply love how you all celebrated it.


    • Yes, our memories go back a long way—and as in all long term relationships, the memories sometimes don’t mesh. What one remembers is not always the way someone else remembers it! It does make it fun. And at our age, who else do you tell your secrets to? A grandson of one woman asked her what she and I did in high school, and she told him, “We played the Ouija board”. That may be true, but I don’t remember that. Two were in my wedding, which somehow sets us aside into a separate category.


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