As I was packing up the Christmas decorations (surely my least favorite activity of all times), I fell to thinking about the past. When Bob and I were growing up, our family lived in the Homestead in the winter and Birches cottage in the summer until our parents built their house in 1955. The Homestead then had a full working kitchen in the cellar because meals were served in its Dining Room until the late 50s. (Rooms 12, 14, 15 and 16 are in what was the Homestead Dining Room.)
So many of our family Christmas Celebrations were held in the Homestead living room. The Christmas tree was set up in the North half of the room, and we “hung” our stockings on the window sill of the picture window. I can see in my mind’s eye the stockade fort and big red fire engine that Santa brought Bob one year, and the Madame Alexander dolls that I had to have!
After the new house was built, the Christmas tree was set up in the bay window on the East side of the living room. Our Aunt Marj Maloney would surveil the decorating and let us know if the lights were evenly distributed! Our Mother, Merle, loved Christmas and each succeeding year was an extravaganza of wonderful food and perfectly wrapped packages! She had no greater delight than gathering with the family.
I have collected Christmas ornaments for years and years. When I worked in New York in the 60s, I would haunt the Christmas decoration room at Georg Jensen, where my array began. Each ornament is different, harking from trips far and wide – Hawaii, Santa Fe, Iran (yes the axis of evil), St. Barts, Vermont, on and on. Each time I open the box of treasures, I get lost in the story of each piece!
Actually, this was the first time in three years that they’ve been on the tree: two years ago Ava was a puppy and I didn’t want to risk losing any to her playfulness. Last year I broke my wrist shortly before Christmas. We made do with just lights on the tree, so it was doubly sweet to break them out this time.
And now to thoughts of the future: All the staff is back from our holiday vacation, raring to go! Lots of folks have phoned for reservations, weddings and group events. Woohoo! We can’t wait for opening day on May 14! It will be Basin Harbor’s 125th Birthday and we’ll be celebrating with a party each week. Party hats for all! Happy New Year – Pennie