Sunday, December 20, 2009

Final Vintage Christmas Monday & Memories

Welcome to the last Vintage Christmas Monday. Thanks again to Joan at anythinggoeshere for the wonderful job she has done in organizing this fabulous blog party. I had hoped for something new for this last date and actually found the felt Santa picture at Goodwill and the green cornucopia at a church Christmas sale, the picture was $.99 cents and the pottery $.50 cents. Around the frame of the picture, is a nice cloth trim piece, and real sticks were incorporated into the design. I meant to add a sprig of berries to the vase, but forgot to do so before I took the picture. Goodwill is seasonal when it comes to putting out decoration so I won't see anything new at Goodwill till November 2010.

For today's post I wanted to share an old memory, a new memory and a memory that seems can not be forgotten, no matter how hard we try. A while back, I was celebrating Christmas with my family. It was 2004 and the family was getting together at my house. Usually I am up at my brother's home for the holiday ..... he has Christmas and I have Thanksgiving. However, that year, my family wanted to see my 12 full size theme trees that I had decorated along with miles of garland, nutcracker collection and gingerbread houses a la Martha. I won't say it was over the top, apparently I just didn't sleep much before the party. I had food everywhere,
after all that is my business. Tables were set up in the front parlor, music room and of course dining room and kitchen. All homemade goodies from scratch except the cheese (Sorry Martha S. I don't own a cow or goat.) Talk, between nibbling on tea sandwiches and scones turned to the topic of Christmas decorating. That was when the menfolk made a hasty retreat to the family room, not before filling up their plates.

We talked of homemade wreaths and bows, which stores would have the best after-Christmas sales ... Christmas Tree Shop or
Michaels, and can you ever have enough candles? Burning questions to be sure (no pun intended - the candle question). However, it was that last question that prompted my mother to ask my sister and I if we saw the December issue of Martha Stewart Living and had we seen the article on the candle carolers? She went on to ask if we remembered the set of Christmas Carolers Candles that she used to have. Every Christmas Mom would get out the candles and arrange them on a mirror that lay on the dining room side table. She would add fresh greens and berries. The appearance of these candles heralded the start of the Christmas Season. We may not have had many family traditions at Christmas, but this was one of them. Like all things of our childhood, that got old, faded, and chipped, the candles were replaced with newer decorations. Mom said she had regretted having gotten rid of them. I came home one day and saw the box in the trash. I was 12. Horrified, I retrieved them from the bin (my first official foray into dumpster diving) and carefully wrapped them up in tissue paper and stored them away.

Until that year, 2004, when Martha's article had reminded me of my treasures. Safely wrapped up as they had been for so many years, they had been a protected memory of my childhood, of a time of innocence, when Santa was real. I knew it was now time to start a new tradition, with my own daughter. I unpacked the sweet little candles and made my own vignette.

Taking my mother's hand in mine, I led her to the family room where the candles in all their worn paint, slightly warped glory were displayed. Stunned, she turned to look at me. "Could these be the same candles? How" When I explained what I had done, she gave me a hug and said thank you. And for a moment we stood there in silence, gazing upon the candles, thinking of those years that they graced the dining room and when my father was alive. He had died when I was 13. And for a brief moment Dad was with us. OLD MEMORIES.

But there are times when it is okay to pass on a family treasure, because it makes you feel good to share. I just received this sweet little angel bell from my friend Cathy. Last week she had placed a beautifully wrapped box on my desk, so pretty you didn't want to open the gift. So after a moment's hesitation I unwrapped the box and there carefully wrapped in tissue paper was this sweet little angel. (I am thinking it was probably part of a set of 4 spelling out Noel, as the stocking looks like an L). It brought tears to my eyes because I knew that this ornament was one of the few things from Cathy's own childhood that she received after both parents had died. I knew the family memories it held for her and was honored that she had chosen to give it to me. She explained that it was the only decoration that she had of this type, everything else was more modern. She couldn't pass it on to her daughters, how do you decide which one to receive it? She knew my love of vintage and deep respect for family memories and could think of no one better than I to give this little angel a home. It sits proudly on my shelf with my vintage ceramic sleigh and elves and it will always remind me of my friend Cathy and NEW MEMORIES.

Awhile ago my daughter found a scrapbook at Goodwill that had
memorabilia chronicling the time spent during the Vietnam War of one young man and his family. Elizabeth thought it was sad that one's memories had been put out for purchase and decided she should buy it out of respect for the soldier. It was only recently that I looked through the pages and found this Christmas Menu, detailing a Christmas Dinner for the 39th Signal BN (S.P.C.)

The menu included assorted relish tray, assorted fresh fruit, assorted nuts and assorted candy.

It wasn't the menu that caught my eye but rather the message from the commanding officer.

"To all personnel of this Command and their dependents, I wish to extend most sincere wishes for a very Merry Christmas. To those of you who are away from your home and loved ones on this day I hope that you may find solace in your knowledge that you are serving the forces of democracy in preserving the peace and freedom symbolized by Christmas Day. It is my prayer that wherever you may be, whether as a Soldier or Civilian, you will never fail to serve your God, your country and your fellow man. May the spirit which prevails here today continue throughout the coming years and there forever will be Peace on Earth, Goodwill to Men."

These words were written in
Viet Nam, almost 40 years ago, but they could have been written this week, in Iraq. Some Memories never change.

Perhaps not a proper Vintage Christmas Monday ornament or other decoration, but this does represent a long ago Christmas that is worth remembering. What is the phrase ......"People that do not learn from history are doomed to repeat it" .... something like that. Let us all hope for Peace on Earth and Goodwill to Men and that War will someday be only an old memory in the history books. Merry Christmas to all who serve and their families. God bless you and keep you safe.


Diane and Kelly said...

Great finds at the Goodwill! Don't you just love thrifting? Here in Utah we have the best thrift stores: Deseret Industries. They always have tons of new merchandise at great prices. The only drawback is the "competition". When they roll the carts out with new stuff every morning people swarm and it sometimes gets dangerous. I'm not competitive so I hang back until it's safe.


anythinggoeshere said...

What memories... all of them! Tears to start the day! xo Joan, your hostess

Pink Roses and Teacups said...

What a heartfelt story to go along with your little carolers. :) I too, have ceramic angels that were my moms, that she would put out on the shelf every Christmas. I have them now. A few chips here and there, but they hold sweet memories for me. I posted about them in a n earlier vintage post. thank for visiting me, and for your nice comments. :)

Merry Christmas to you!

LBP said...

What a great story!! I began my dumpster diving when I was just a "tot" as well! I love the little girl with the "L". I have two little girls with an "e and a L" Still searching for the "N" and the "O". They must be elusive! I saw your Barbie picture!! LOL!!! I love it! Totally something that I would have done!

Merry Christmas!


Julie Marie said...

Oh Sherrie... of all the Vintage Christmas Monday posts I have seen this past month, this one of yours is my very favorite! Everything you wrote has touched my heart so, I felt as if I could have written it myself as we share so many of the same sentiments... How so precious that you retrieved the carollers from the trash, and even more precious when you showed them to your mama and YES, your daddy IS there with you, no one can tell me different! So very kind of your dear friend to give you her little Christmas angel, I am sure she knows how much you will love and cherish it... and the scrapbook and Christmas menu from the Viet Nam War... how could anyone have parted with that... but I am so happy you now have that and what a priceless daughter you have to be so very thoughtful and caring... I adore her for saving that for you... being the daughter of a retired Colonel in the US Army (my daddy has now passed on) I know firsthand the hardships of our soldiers being away from home at Christmas... thank you and your daughter for honoring this soldier and all of our Armed Forces... I will think of your words and this post all day today... you have so touched my heart... Wishing you and your family a very Merry Christmas... love to you... Bisous... Julie Marie