Thursday, December 4, 2008

Ode to an Old Wreath

The first thing I hang the day after Thanksgiving is this old wreath. Now that I see it in the picture, I think it is looking a bit asymmetrical. It needs to be turned a bit; the poinsettias and leaves need to be more properly placed. But I love it.

I have had this same wreath for ever so long, and like it much better than the standard green wreath that must be purchased new each year. I like it because it is old, and because it says so much about us.

It says, hello, greetings, and Merry Christmas! We love teddy bears because we are friendly and snuggly and loveable. We were recycling way before it was popular because our great-grandparents lived through the Great Depression, reused things out of necessity, and passed on their stories through oral tradition.

My great-grandfather used to go to the dump three times a day to pick up re-usable items. My favorite thing in his house was a tarnish brass frog with a wide open mouth that served as a pencil holder. That came from the dump. I would love to have it on my desk top to remind me of him.

The doorknocker, inscribed MILLER, was a gift from the real estate agent (who also was a family friend) who helped us find our house. We moved in one month before the birth of our firstborn. The gold wreath used to hang on my parents’ front door before they moved off Long Island, the same year we married. The ribbons came off of gifts that were given to us. The poinsettias were left over from a Christmas project my mom and I did when I was a teenager. The bear was a gift topper from way back when.

The little bears were purchased from a little boy named Kevin. Kevin came knocking at our door the first year we lived in this house. He was selling Christmas ornaments as a fundraiser for school. We were the first door he had knocked on. He wore glasses and was so shy that he did not know what to say. I took the brochure from him and picked out the set of miniature teddy bear ornaments. Kevin joined the Marines this fall.

They repeatedly say on all the purging and organization shows that you don’t need things to bring back memories. They say you can take a picture of the item if necessary, and it will serve the same purpose. I have plenty of pictures of my Christmas trees in photo albums, but nothing is so powerful as opening up the boxes of ornaments and holding something you have not seen for eleven months. On the bottom of these boxes I have handmade ornaments that have long ago fallen apart. I do not hang them – I glance at them once when taking out ornaments and once more when putting them back. I wouldn’t throw them out for anything.

1 comment:

Loren Christie said...

This is a great story about your family and the significance of the wreath. You make the point so well that the memory physically lives in the object. Nice job.