When I recall the Christmas trees of my youth, I can't help but recall how excited we all were to decorate the tree. The rule in our house, however, was that we could not do anything until Dad strung the lights. He was an electrician, after all, and the lights weren't LED lights as they are now. It was probably best that he string the lights. I remember anxiously waiting for him to get finished -- then we could have at it. The style back then was to hang "icicles" from all of the branches. As kids, we didn't have the patience to place them one at a time on the branches, and I'm sure Mom followed behind us "fixing" everything we did. The trees were always "live." I searched through photo albums and found this picture of my brother, Ted, and sister, Karen, in front of a tree when we lived in Golf Manor. It was our "cowboy" phase. I bet there are a lot of you who grew up in the 50's who remember that time well.
|Ted and Karen in front of our tree ca. 1958|
In 1959, we moved to Pleasant Ridge. This was truly the home of our youth. The arrival of Dan in April of 1959 made it nearly impossible for us to continue living in the small three-bedroom Golf Manor home now that we were a family of eight. It was sometime during that period that I'm sure Dad became perfectly happy with relinquishing some of his "tree" duties. It was also during this era that Scotch Pines became the preferred tree in our family. I have numerous pictures of me, my siblings and my cousins, all lined up in birth order, in front of those trees. I was even able to find one of Dad showing off his new robe. (Note Tom in the lower right-hand corner).
I'm sure that tucked away in my memory are several examples of Christmas trees that I put up with my husband at the time, Bob. I'm sure we enjoyed putting up a tree for Elizabeth's first Christmas. But what I REALLY remember is the Christmas of 1979. I was newly-divorced with a one-year old baby. I was in no mood to celebrate Christmas, but felt I HAD to get it together for Elizabeth. So I took my newly-single self over to the Blue Ash YMCA, bought a live tree, and brought the thing home. (To say I didn't care about it is an understatement). I lived in a second-floor apartment. I tied a rope to the tree, hoisted it up and over the balcony railing and decorated it. I'll never forget the feeling. Having accomplished that, I felt for the first time since my divorce that I would "make it" as a single parent.
Fast forward about ten years, and I'm now married to Bill. Bill has never had a love of putting up Christmas trees, partly because he could never buy a tree that was the "right one" for his ex-wife. Once he literally brought home three different trees before she was satisfied. Besides, he's Jewish, so he could cop out on this Christmas tradition. Add to that the fact that I am allergic, and I do mean ALLERGIC, to Christmas trees. Decorating the tree always meant long sleeves, gloves and a great deal of itching. I turned into a "witch" -- or you can substitute your own word. About 20 years ago in frustration, I left Liz with Bill and went down to the local "Big Box" store and bought an artificial tree. If you can believe it, I put up the SAME tree today.
Ian was 2 1/2 years old
I've got a new grandson, Andrew, and I want his first Christmas to be special. So I got myself together and put up the tree -- one more time. I'm thinking this year will be the perfect year for Roland and Ian to help Grandpa put the train up -- I'm sure you would agree.
Merry Christmas 2012 to all of my family and friends.