Santa visits with Mrs. Ed Lubinsky in 1946.
Santa visits with Mrs. Ed Lubinsky in 1946.

    Our editorial this week is written, posthumously, by Santa Claus.

     For 47 years, Ripon’s jolly old soul was portrayed by a fellow named Arthur E. Steinbring (1879 to 1950). If you are old enough to remember him, you probably recall sitting on his lap and sharing with him your Christmas wishes. Or perhaps as a child, your parents brought you in to the family’s downtown Ripon shoe store, where Arthur worked from 1903 to 1939. He retired that year from the store at 200 Watson St., where Hamilton’s is now,“to hunt, fish and help my wife wash.” ...

     Arthur’s story is a reminder that Christmas began with God’s gift in a manger and endures today in the hearts of those who believe they don’t need much for themselves to make many others happy.

     Arthur wrote this one year before hanging up his red suit for good. He died the next year at age 71. 

     It just simply seems to me at times that I was born to play Santa Claus.

     My dad died when I was 1 year old and my mother died when I was 8.  

     So I was left without anyone to make Christmas merry for me and I had to do the best I could myself.  

     At Christmas time I would take an evergreen twig, place it in a spool, trim it with what I had: a few half candles, paper ornaments that I made out of colored show bills, some popcorn and some animal cookies that were given to me by Hugo Schultz at his grocery store.

     Now it was right then and there that I made up my mind that some day I would do something whereby I could make as many people as I possibly could happy at Christmas time.  

     And the results are that when I was 22 years of age — when my first son was born — I dressed up as Santa Claus and have donned a Santa Claus suit every year since and this year, 1948, is my 46th year in doing so. ...

      To learn more about Ripon Santa Claus Arthur Steinbring, stop by the Ripon Historical Society and see the display created by volunteers Pat Grahn and Carol Sachen. It is open Fridays and Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. or by appointment.
— Tim Lyke

     To read the entire editorial, see the Dec. 21, 2107 edition of The Ripon Commonwealth Press.