Married for over sixty years, my Grandma Evelyn and Grandpa Gerald had more kids than fingers to count on (13 kids born, 9 surviving.) Though they were a big working class family, my grandparents were very generous with their time and energy. Through the various organizations they belonged to, they raised money for charities like St. Jude Hospital and were highly involved in the community.

One of their favorite acts of charity was dressing up in costume and visiting those in hospital and those in need. At Christmastime, with my grandpa’s beard as white as snow, they became Santa Claus and Mrs. Claus.

Sadly, my Grandma Evelyn passed away in 2012. Before her death, she struggled with various health problems including a broken hip that required her to be in a nursing home. Her federal health insurance provider, whom I’m not sure I can legally name, refused to cover the costs of her care. They told my grandpa to divorce my grandma so that he would not be financially responsible for her.

That was the choice my grandpa was given. Divorce his wife of over sixty years, the mother of his children, the love of his life, or risk financial instability.

My grandpa refused. The love he had for my grandma was too strong.

Eventually, the health insurance provider did cover some of the costs, but not all. To pay for the rest, my grandpa had to drain his life savings, but it wasn’t enough. A $30,000 lean was slapped on his home.

An 89-year-old veteran and family man with a gentle humor that has earned him the nickname Smiley, my grandpa often reminisces about the fun he had with my grandma, especially their time as Santa Claus and Mrs. Claus. Filled with memories, he decided to put together a book of the funny things kids have blurted out to him over the years while he was dressed up in his red Santa suit.

We’re selling the book to the public this Christmas in hope of raising enough money to pay off the lean on his home. No hardworking American should have to choose between divorce or financial security, especially not the elderly.

The book is called Funny Things Said to Santa by Gerald Scholer, and it’s available at most major online book retailers like Amazon and Barnes & Noble.

More info:

Mr. and Mrs. Claus

Funny Things Said to Santa, Meet the Grandpa