Wednesday, December 1, 2010

ADVENT CALENDAR - Our Christmas Tree through the years

Memories of the Christmas Tree are many!  I've shown you what my Grandma's tree looked like in 1952 in the previous post, but here it is again. 

Grandma Good's at Christmas 1952
It was small and sat on a table (lovingly made by her dad) next to her "pie-annie." 
(Grandma Good with a young relative back in the early 1950s.)
The piano was a player piano, also, with lots and lots of perforated rolls of music waiting to be heard!  I loved to hear her play it and sing all the beautiful Christmas songs. 

Grandma sang in the Listie Brethern Church choir, so the piano bench was filled with hymnals for practice. 

 The only photo I could find online was of a Methodist Hymnal.

source for all music related photos in this post:
There was a lever, under the keyboard to the right if I remember correctly, that switched the piano from normal to player.  The three buttons below also had something to do with it in player mode, but...that was a long time ago!  <smile>

The treadles were retractable and hidden behind the sliding panel above the foot pedals.

The mechanism was hidden behind sliding panels above the keyboard.  Somehow, you loaded the music roll onto a spindle and threaded the paper onto an empty roll.   


Grandma kept these music rolls stored in the old Victrola upstairs in the master bedroom (out of reach of little, destructive hand!).

She was the kindest Grandma you'd ever want, but she wasn't stupid!  ;)

This old black and white photo is of my sister, Kathy, Christmas 1960.  It was taken at our other Grandma's home in Morgantown, Indiana.  Grandma Hilda had the silvery aluminum tree and color wheel as seen in the background.

Here's a picture of one of Mom's creations, also taken Christmas 1960.  She always took such pains to make the tree perfect.  Each icicle was laid on the pine needles (yes - real pine needles!) with great care, one by one!  It seemed to take hours and hours before we could turn out the living room lights and see her final masterpiece!  But, it was always worth the wait. 

My 1st grade artwork is displayed above the piano.  I remember making the lantern to the far right.  It was supposed to be like stained glass, with red cellophane in the panes of the lantern.  I think I still have that one and the church window, second from left.

Anyway, our Christmas trees went from natural pines, to a fake white snow-flocked tree with green ornaments and color wheel in the late 1960s.  The white tree was pretty, but never seemed the same as a real tree.  The smell of a real pine always takes me back to my earliest childhood memories of Christmas.

When I left home, my first tree was a 7 foot real pine tree.  It was purchased on Christmas Eve, and decorated with my homemade bead-studded ornaments, lots of lights, and covered in angel hair.  I, too, labored for hours, trying to perfect my first Christmas tree.  The angel hair diffused the glow of the lights, making everything look magical!  Not bad for my first attempt at decorating. 

The following year, and every year since, I've had an artificial Christmas tree.  Each year, however, the same effort to achieve perfection goes into the decorating. 

This photo was taken a few years ago.  A lot of the ornaments are handmade by me, some by my sister.  Some are traditional Christmas balls in all colors, some glass-blown from a really cool shop in Nashville, Indiana, some Hummels.  Others are handmade cookie cutter felt ornaments, hand painted wooden ornaments, ornaments given to us as gifts from friends.  The garlands are stranded red, gold, and silver beads and thread spools covered in homespun fabric separated by wooden beads strung on jute twine.  The lights are both large and mini, with one of the mini light strands programmable to set different moods.  Mesmerizing! 

I don't even try to put icicles on our trees for two reason:  1.  I could never have the patience to put each strand on, one by one, as Mom did, and 2.  we have cats! 


Boots, our gentle giant

Susie, Missy's sister

Our newest addition, Coy-Coy (originally McCoy)

Kirk (James T.)

and Bailey, our oldest (10 1/2 years old)
 The sparkle is too much of a temptation for them!  It's difficult enough to keep them away from the ornaments!  LOL!


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