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He knows when you're awake

November 27, 2004|by MARLO BARNHART

marlob@herald-mail.com

For 16-month-old Katie Keckler, all the excitement surrounding Friday's arrival of Santa Claus at Long Meadow Shopping Center was a bit puzzling.

But the event had a different effect on her grandmother, Connie Spong, who could remember bringing Katie's mom to the shopping center to see Santa many years ago.

"It's still a lot of fun," Spong said.

Children and adults began showing up nearly a half hour before Saint Nick made his appearance at center mall. The skies were clear, but the wind was strong and bundling up was the order of the day.

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"I'm going to ask Santa for a choo-choo train and some tracks," said 4-year-old Kaleb Wise.

Kaleb's sister, Kiera Wise, 5, mentioned that a doll would be nice but said she really wanted clothes for Christmas.

"I've got my eye on the Mario Tennis video game and Paper Mario," 6-year-old Jacob Wise said.

Waiting patiently in line to see Santa Claus, Jessica Sensenbaugh, 8, was eager to make sure she got to tell her wish.

"I really want a puppy, a schnauzer puppy," Jessica said.

Santa rode atop South End Fire Co.'s historic 1952 firetruck, while Frosty the Snowman rode on a Long Meadow Fire Co. truck and Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer rode in a vintage car. They paraded around the shopping center and back to center mall.

The Marine Corps League, which sponsors Toys for Tots, contributed two armored vehicles to the parade.

The American Legion Forty and Eight train rides for kids and a magic show also were part of the event.

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