Saturday, June 30, 2018

Christmas Comes But Once A Year

For some reason, there are a lot of Christmas pictures among the ones we brought back from California. I guess most families take pictures at Christmas time, but the focus on that particular holiday seems like a function of the era. Christmas was the time to take pictures. It was special. It was only.

There are a number of photos of me posed in front of the Christmas tree taken year by year: 1948, 1949, 1950, 1951 and 1952. This is the first one, and it's probably the only one I will post.

Christmas Kid
There are more pictures of the tree than there are of me so don't get the wrong idea. We would see the same general pictures each Christmas until I was four, then they stop. In fact, there are very few pictures of me taken at any time after the age of four. Don't know why, but that's the way it is.

My mother is holding me up in the picture above. I recall the bracelet she is wearing. It was her mother's, rather baroque, silver and turquoise, but not Native American. It may have been Turkish. Or an American design.  From the 1920s. The turquoise stones were intricately carved, and they may not have been turquoise at all. The bracelet was part of a set that included a necklace and earrings. My mother wore the bracelet frequently, but she rarely wore the other pieces. [I've studied the picture more carefully. It's not a bracelet. It's her watch, a tiny Hamilton on a braided cord wristband. I remember both the bracelet and the watch quite clearly, and in this case confused the two.]

She also liked to wear a ring that had been given to her by her mother shortly before she died in 1941. It was topaz and diamonds mounted in filigree white gold. Topaz was my mother's birthstone. She's wearing the ring in the picture of the two of us after returning home from the hospital after my birth.

The Shiny-Brite ornaments, the tinsel, the carefully wrapped packages stacked all around the bottom of the tree, the tree itself -- always a cut tree, never artificial -- would be repeated over and over again with little or no variation. This one was perhaps the most luxurious tree of the Christmases I have pictures of, but the others come close. It was a ritual, an important one in our household, even when the household broke apart as it would repeatedly.

We have a tree up all the time in New Mexico to honor Ms. Ché's mother -- who loved Christmas more than anything. In front of our all the time Christmas tree is a company of nutcrackers, manifesting our own admiration for Tchaikovsky and the quirky "Nutcracker in the Land of Enchantment" presented annually by the Festival Ballet of Albuquerque.

The tree we have up all the time is artificial of course, but it has a selection of antique Shiny-Brite ornaments (a few saved from childhood, others collected over the years) as well as modern imitations/interpretations, but mostly it's ornamented with New Mexico keepsakes such as St. Francis, cats, road runners, rabbits, prairie dogs, etc.

And no tinsel. Well, we have cats, and cats love Christmas trees, especially hangy things on trees that they can pull off and eat. In the old days, Christmas tinsel was made of thin strips of tin or lead, and of course was poisonous. Now it's made of plastic, Mylar, and is potentially equally deadly. So we don't use it.

Enough of this reminiscing for now.

There are things going on in the wider world that may need some attention.

I understand, for example, that Trump is terrified the Democrats will abolish his Gestapo, ICE. Aww. Poor baby...

No comments:

Post a Comment