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By Roz Rogoff

About this blog: In January 2002 I started writing my own online "newspaper" titled "The San Ramon Observer." I reported on City Council meetings and other happenings in San Ramon. I tried to be objective in my coverage of meetings and events, and...  (More)

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A gift from my Secret Santa

Uploaded: Dec 24, 2013

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.

It is a puzzle who sent this to me. I really appreciate it and emailed the store in New Hampshire for information on who bought it. I'm not sure if they will tell me due to their Privacy Policy, which might only apply to their website. It's just weird to get a gift from an unknown sender ? my Secret Santa.

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.
What is it worth to you?


Posted by Roz Rogoff, the San Ramon Observer,
on Dec 24, 2013 at 3:30 pm

Roz Rogoff is a registered user.

The mystery deepens. My mother just called from Scarborough, Maine to ask if I sent her a plaid, wool hat; hers arrived today with no gift card or any ID who sent it. So the Secret Santa struck again, but who is it?


Posted by Roz Rogoff, the San Ramon Observer,
on Dec 24, 2013 at 3:55 pm

Roz Rogoff is a registered user.

The mystery is solved. I called my sister in San Francisco and she's our Secret Santa. She wanted to buy her husband a Tam and bought one for him from the online store and then bought one for me and my mother.

She said she picked the green color for me because I have green eyes. Thank you Alice Rogoff Williams very much!!!


Posted by Cindy, a resident of Danville,
on Dec 26, 2013 at 8:45 am

Very cute. I love that Secret Santa kept you guessing...apart from the fact that you can't say "thank you," it's a fun Christmas concept...happy holidays, Roz. I remember you from when I was in Soroptomists.

Posted by Roz Rogoff, the San Ramon Observer,
on Dec 26, 2013 at 11:23 am

Roz Rogoff is a registered user.


Thanks for the comment. I remember you from Soroptimists too. I haven't been in the organization for a long time, but they are a nice group of women who do good work for the community.

I took all the slashes out of your message. For some reason our system puts slashes in where there are apostrophes.

Posted by Mary B., a resident of Danville,
on Dec 27, 2013 at 7:49 am

Cute picture. It really shows your enthusiasm!

Posted by Cholo, a resident of Livermore,
on Mar 1, 2014 at 4:23 pm

I see it as it is. Colors are the attributes of light and not colored object!

i rest my case...

Cholo Pololo Mololo

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