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Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Christmas In Trinidad

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When I was a child growing up in Davis, my mother collected a whole village of tiny, paper houses that were painted delicate pastel colors, their roofs draped with clear glitter-embossed white paint evoking snow. The windows were covered with transparent cellophane and there was a hole in the back of each house where a christmas light could be inserted to light up the inside, making the entire village a glowing, magical place where the imagination of a child could soar.
Each year at Christmas, my mother would place this village on a billowing, white, fluffy cotton material that she spread under the tree, making tree-lined avenues, ponds for skaters and copses of woods with tiny green fir trees for a few curious spotted deer. To me it was absolute magic. I wanted to be very small so I could live in one of those houses, skip down the streets and roam with the deer who, of course, would be my friends.
Over the years, those paper houses slowly deteriorated, the little pine trees lost their vibrant green color and fell apart, until only a few remained to remind us now grown-up kids of that long-ago magic.
Then, several years ago, someone, probably about my age with similar memories of his or her own childhood Christmases, began reproducing the houses, the trees, the ponds. I was ecstatic. Until I looked at the price tags. How could I spend so much on just one house when I had a large extended family to buy gifts for? I couldn't. I moved on.
When we went to New England this fall, while in Newburyport, MA, I happened to walk into a store that was already decked out for the holidays, and there they were: affordable, adorable village houses, so very reminiscent of the ones my mother used to put under our family Christmas trees.
Knowing I would have to hand carry these back to California, I carefully chose two of my favorites and now here they are, nestled in "snow" and surrounded by a few of the trees and one pond mirror from my childhood's Christmases; lined up on the windowsill that looks out over the pathway to our house, welcoming all who approach with a warm twinkle of lights and the magic of my childhood memories that dwell within.

3 comments:

Anonymous said...

Ahh what a lovely Christmas story Christine. It reminds me of when I lived in Davis I made some decorations with the old lady who lived next door. They were coloured glass balls to which we glued a washer to the bottom and decorated with sequins and lace, a washer (grommet) went in the top where the hanging wire was and a candle was inserted in the top. My parents kept these and they travelled wherever they lived and ...you've guessed they still come out and decorate her mantel piece every Christmas, I have to add some of them are a little bedraggled!! I noticed they were selling something similar in our local shop for name place cards for the table.
Anne

christine said...

Thanks for your memories Anne. I wonder who that 'old lady' in Davis was. Do you remember her name?
I'm so glad that some of the ornaments you made with her have lasted all these years.
Merry Christmas.

Anonymous said...

I'm sorry I don't and I think she had moved before we left. I remember she also told us how to make tamale pie using polenta which I suppose in those days was fairly unusual.
Anne