To the Editor:

Here's "A Little True Personal Christmas Story."

Many years ago, there was a little boy about 7 years old who grew up in a single-parent household with five sisters and a brother.

His family lived very modestly and didn't grow up with all the comforts in life, but appreciated the little things. Way back when TV just came out and color wasn't an option. Music was on a turntable and and AM radio.

If you had a transistor radio, you were a big shot.

One year on Christmas Eve, this little boy stood at the top of the staircase where his grandmother lived upstairs, looking down trying to catch Santa Claus like all young children tried to do back then.

To his surprise, he saw two Marines dressed in their finest dress blues standing next to a huge box of gift-wrapped toys and a bicycle, talking to his mom, who had tears in her eyes.

This little boy eventually fell asleep, not accomplishing his mission of seeing Santa Claus.

The next morning, on Christmas, he awoke with his brother and sister to find that Santa had come and under the tree were the most beautifully wrapped presents. Next to the wall was a big shiny bicycle.

Stockings were filled with fruit and all kinds of little goodies. It was a great Christmas morning, one this little boy would always remember.

Back then, Toys For Tots was a new program. Back then, donated items were new and used and that bicycle was reconditioned and repainted like new.

That was a big thing to a little boy with no bicycle like all the rich kids in the neighborhood had.

He rode it like it was the best gift he had ever received, not realizing why other boys teased him while they rode their brand new Sting Ray bikes. He didn't really care.

Toys were small, some used and games were not always complete with parts, but for someone who had so little, it meant a lot.

Many years later, that little boy grew up and remembering that morning and those two Marines.

Not only did he join the Marines, but decided to pay back from that morning many years ago and has been trying to do it ever since.

Today, many years later, that little boy has a great wife and healthy family and awesome friends, still lives modestly and carries on the tradition.

This story is true. I know that little boy well.

It was me.

So this year when Christmas is upon us, think that you to could make an impression on a little boy or girl, dig into your pocket for a few dollars well spent.

It may be the investment of a lifetime... not for you, but for that future Marine or soldier.

Thank you if you took the time to read this little story.

Merry Christmas to all and to all a good night.

Don Clady

New Milford