By Sebastian Moraga

It was the best of times, it was the wor...nope, it was definitely the best of times.

The letters to Santa have been a long standing tradition for Quincy second graders. So we thought it would be fun to catch up with those who once were second graders and ask them how the big jolly guy in the red jacket did when it came time to keep his promises.

Back then, a second-grader named Aidan Wallace asked Santa for an XBox in the letter he sent. The word got around to both sides of the family and on Christmas day, young Aidan found himself with an Xbox. And an Xbox.

“Both of my grandmas got one,” Wallace said. “That was a fun year.”

No kidding.

His teammate TreyVaughn Bierlink went a different route when trying to make his pitch to Santa. “I haven’t been my best, but I think I still deserve my present,” Bierlink wrote 10 years ago.

“I have always been taught to be honest,” Bierlink said last month, when asked to explain his letter-slash-confession. “I get in trouble if I lie, so I have to be straight-up with everyone. Even Santa.”

He asked for an iPod and got it. He asked for an iPad and his family got it.

Unlike many of his contemporaries, Bierlink said that even back then he did not believe in Santa.

“I saw my mom one time sneaking presents under the tree,” he said of his Christmastime epiphany. “I knew Santa wasn’t real when I saw a girl.”

A different girl, Emily Wurl, asked Santa for a box of crayons. And the North Pole’s most famous resident who doesn’t have a red nose, came through in fine style, delivering a box of 48 with the little built-in sharpener on the side.

She also asked for a picture of Santa and the reindeer, and just to make sure the fella knew whom she was dealing with, Wurl added, “I have been a good girl.”

Santa believed her, and rightly so, because she got quite a few pictures in her stocking.

Even 10 years later, there’s still a little bit of whimsy left in these adults in the making. At least enough to imagine what they would ask Santa now if they had the chance.

“Hopefully a run at State,” said Aidan Heikes. His teammate Reid Thomsen said he would probably ask for legal tender.

,Back in those days, Heikes asked for a module of the solar system 10 years ago, and who must have been on the Nice list, because that’s exactly what he got.

Then, there’s Patrick Frerks, whose letter to Santa from 10 years ago not only included pointed (or was it pointy-hatted?) inquiries about the height of the elves, but also a requst for an NCAA football video game.

“I’m literally playing that game right now,” Frerks said in a phone interview last month. “I’m not even kidding.”

In addition, he asked for and got four tickets to go see a football game between Eastern Washington and Montana.

Some students used the chance to communicate with Santa via mail (and the Post-Register) to put in a good word about the folks they lived with.

Ryann Harrington asked for stuff for herself but also for makeup for mom and new phones for dad.

That year, Ryann reminisced, she didn’t do so well when it came to getting what she had asked for. In the years ahead, she did get the guitar she wanted and the Barbie she asked for, but not that year.

She asked for, among other things, Silly Putty, and at least two people felt relieved that Christmas when the big guy didn’t come through.

“My parents hated having that in the house,” she said.

Warren Lybbert also decided to put in a good word for his family in his letter, asking for toys for his sibling and for a new rug for mom and dad.

Mom and dad eventually did get a new rug and Warren’s sister Odessa did get the toy Warren asked for her, but ironically, the man doing all the wheeling and dealing struck out with Santa that year. Warren had asked for Army toys, and he got them, just not the ones he asked for.

Still, the red-jacketed elf must have done something right over the years, because he still can count on Warren among his most devoted fans.

“To be completely honest,” he said with just a hint of impishness in his voice, “I still believe in Santa.”

Wurl shared similar insight, reminiscing that it was a fourth-grade substitute teacher who told her that Santa was not real.

“It was like a processing thing, where I went, ‘Wait, Santa is not real?” she said. “And then I processed it a little bit and went, ‘Oh, yeah, he’s probably not real.’

“But,” she adds after a brief pause, and coupling her words with a chuckle, “He’s real.”

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