Santa Family Gets Ho-ho-ho's Out Of Merry Surname

December 24, 1990|By Dianne Williams Hayes | Dianne Williams Hayes,Staff writer

The mail goes to the right place, but the telephone calls the Glen Burnie family once received were certainly meant for the other Santa.

At one time, when David and Aida Santa would pick up the telephone, the strangers on the other end of the line often rattled off their Christmas requests. That was until the family got an unlisted telephone number.

Now the Puerto Rican family is more concerned about instilling the spirit of Christmas in their three children who bear the Santa name -- a name that first brought tears now brings laughter.

"They used to get frustrated," Mrs. Santa said. "Now, I explain to them that they shouldn't let it get to them. It still bothers my youngest. But I hope she can grow up to live with it. Or, at least she can marry and change it."

But mostly, the family looks forward to this time of year when they teach their children to give and how to have a good laugh as well.

And last week, David Santa Jr., decided to have the last laugh on classmates and his drafting teacher Ron Ferguson, who often tease him about his name at the Center for Applied Technology North.

Dressed in his father's red-and-white Santa suit, David bellowed out a "ho, ho, ho" as he entered his drafting class.

"I'm trying to get back at my teacher," David said from under the thick white mustache and beard. "He's pretty nice and is one of my favorite."

And what would a true Santa be without presents. The idea for the miniature Cadillac given to Ferguson came after he jokingly asked David to live up to his name.

"I got used to the name," David Jr. said. "I used to get mad at kids for teasing me. A lot of times I wanted to change my name until around the sixth or seventh grade. It doesn't bother me anymore."

The family's good humor does not end with David. His parents also take it in stride.

Originally from New York, David's parents are known to dress up as Mr.

and Mrs. Claus and hand out gifts to turnpike toll booth operators as they visit relatives for the holidays.

"We just like to make other people feel good," Mr. Santa said.

After working the late shift at the U.S. post office, he got up early Thursday morning to videotape his son wearing his costume at the school.

And Mrs. Santa was busy taking photos of David as she discussed some of the unusual situations produced by their last name.

"Most people think it is a mistake," Mrs. Santa said. "We've traced it back on all of our documents and it's no mistake. In Spanish it means Saint, so it doesn't bother us."

Ironically, as much as they try to live down the name, you can't help but notice a slight twinkle in the eyes of family members when they talk about helping others. The family has quietly donated four turkeys to the school's fund-raisers to feed 10 needy families in the county, for instance.

And when D'Lina, the couple's youngest was asked by Ferguson what she wanted the real Santa Claus to bring her, the kindergartner said, "That's OK, tell him to give it to the poor kids."

After the commotion settled, David and his classmates went back to their drafting assignments, and Mr. and Mrs. Santa were last seen heading out to the parking lot near what looked like tiny hoof prints of eight reindeer.


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