That dadblasted Jinksy just had to post about her memory of Christmas Trees, and that got me into exploring my own memories. In the exhumation process, I thought, "I'll bet we have old pictures that I could post." That, my friends, caused me a few hours work: searching, scanning and fixing (a little) old photos. So, rather than a ten minute piece of prose, it became a project of several hours duration. It's okay, though, as I, bit by tiny bit, endeavour to add old photos to my what I call my heritage folder.
I suspect the following picture dates to 1956, but it is possible that I could be a year out on either side. Most of the tree is visible along with my maternal grandfather and my uncle (his son) in the frame. Grampa is holding the hockey stick that I must have received earlier that Christmas Day as I sit cross-legged on the floor. I had forgotten all about that print hanging on the wall. I liked it, but I don't think it came with us when we moved to Ontario in 1962.
The next picture is obviously from the same Christmas, but includes my father. The tree, looks a little sparse and uneven, so you'd think it must be real, and you'd be correct. I doubt that artificial trees existed in 1956, and if so, they'd probably have been a lot more expensive than a real tree. In fact, I don't recall my parents ever using an artificial tree until they toned Christmas down a little later in life and decided that a little, artificial one would do just fine. That decision took place after another big move. Oddly enough, Cuppa and I decided that a little tree would suit us just fine after our big move a few years ago.
In the photo (still the one above), the construction set that I remember has been erected to my right (your left). I had recently described it to Cuppa, and, voila, there it is. In the photo below, it is 1958, and I am older. I think I was quite taken with the my wave, but somebody should have told me that it didn't suit me so well: too much forehead there. Maybe I was channeling Elvis.
However, I'm supposed to be talking about Christmas Trees, and I'm being diverted by other things that I am seeing in the photos So, let's talk about trees. Aside from the fact that they were real, which I have already mentioned, I have one specific memory of actually getting a tree and bringing it home. It's just an ordinary memory, nothing special, except to me for some reason.
It was in the evening, possibly when I was ten, the age of the above photo. I remember walking a few blocks with Dad to a corner lot one evening. I presume it was after supper because he'd have been pretty ready for a meal after walking home after a full day of being on his feet at work. Maybe I remember because the guy who sold us the tree had a funny voice. I think he'd had an operation and been given some sort of mechanical device to help him speak. My father was very polite and gave no indication of anything unusual, but either he or I mentioned it on the walk home.
I don't remember that walk home, but I do know that we took the tree up the backstairs to our second-story flat. We would have left the tree outside to settle for a few days before bringing inside to decorate. The next photo is the 1960 tree with my Dad and Uncle Charlie ...
... and here's my best friend, Nelson, by the same tree. (Nelson and I reconnected ten years ago. I wonder if her still reads this blog? He did for a long time but never chose to comment.)
Finally, here's one with of mother decorating the 1961 tree, the last tree before moving from Montreal in 1962.
At some point in time, I became the main decorator. At least I was for one year. In the year that I am remembering, I was an older teenager and was put in charge of decorating the tree one Saturday when both my parents were at work. I had mentioned this to a girl friend (but not girlfriend) the previous day, and she offered to help. This was not to be permitted, however, because it was thought that nature might take its course with no adult to chaperon. Given the times, it was probably the correct decision but most likely unnecessary as I was not really attracted to this girl, and I never had any indication that she was attracted to me. However, I guess you never know.
Finally (PTL, eh?), to wrap up the narrative, Cuppa and I soon started to use artificial trees after we were married. Since, we always drove back home for Christmas, it was seemed only sensible thing to put up an artificial tree early in the month and also not have to worry about watering it while we were away.
I think I have a way of making a short story long — but only when I write, not when I speak.