I have a VHS tape that a long time family friend of my Dad took for their 25th wedding anniversary. My parents were married in 1969 so next year it would be 50 yrs. A cousin took it to get it cleaned up but never returned it. We thought it was lost forever until one day we received it in the mail. Mom and I watched a little bit of it then but it was just too hard to watch the whole thing. So many people lost. There is scene in Marley and Me where the eldest son watches their home movies and cries. It’s a happy moment in time but we cry because we miss the people that we shared it with. My Dad did not like parties and worried about the weather since we were holding it outside. But I think in the end he was pleased with how it went. It was probably the last big event that we had where all the family was there before cousins got married and had kids.
My Dad had a family photo album with his parents formal wedding picture and then each of his siblings except for his eldest sister. Mom told me she thinks they had a formal portrait done but she had never seen it. He told me when their kids got married then I could take over. When the estate was settled I gave the album to my brother so that he could have that link to the past to show to his girls. I didn’t need it because I had the memories. All of my Dad’s siblings are gone now except one that I don’t get along with. It’s hard losing those links.
When I moved I took very little from the house. Buying new furniture and new things meant a fresh start. Although I wanted to stay in my old neighbourhood it turned out for the best that I don’t live there anymore. I get to build a new life elsewhere.
In a few weeks I will be putting up my Christmas tree. For me it’s a way of keeping the traditions alive. It’s a combination of the past and the present. Ornaments that were my grandparents, name ornaments I purchased with Janet, Hallmark ornaments that were Janet’s and ones that I have added since. It’s why I don’t like the fancy trees with matching blue or silver ornaments because I believe a tree should tell a story. It should have a history. It’s also why I like to take my time decorating the tree. When I take each ornament out I can say “oh I remember this”.
This is a poem that I wrote 3 years ago for writing class which sums up Christmas’ past
Christmas music fills the air
Seems there’s little time to spare
Mom is baking Christmas treats …
Round the corner to have a peak
Brownies, hermits, macaroons
Where will we find the room?
Christmas cards upon the table
Ready soon to be labeled
A note to share our year
Spreads some Christmas cheer
Our tree is placed into the stand
Dad will lend a helping hand
It’s leaning left, now it’s right
Perfect, that’s just right
Carry boxes down the stairs
Soon tinsel is everywhere
Ornaments with our names
Branches hung with candy canes
Take a walk into the night
To see the houses alit at night