Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Something Else for the Heirs To Fight Over

Me in Third Grade

The other day when I poked fun at Laura's handmade Santa head, I had forgotten about this little gem. That's me in my third grade school picture, sporting what is surely the most unfortunate haircut ever to be inflicted on an innocent child. Mom, if you're reading, don't worry, I'm not interested in laying blame or rehashing the past. My hair and I have moved on. But, you know, wow, it still hurts a little. And the picture is adorning, if you can't tell, vintage early 80's styrofoam. I cannot believe it has survived this long, and really, it is pristine. Now that I look at it, I wonder whether I really made it myself as an 8 year-old? Look how neatly the glitter line is done, and the sequins are stuck precisely in the same spot on each arm of the snowflake. I don't remember making it, maybe it was a gift from my teacher? This creation will probably outlive all of us.

Vintage Paint-at-Home Ornament

And this hickory dickory dock guy is one of a set of ornaments my mom and dad made before I was born. They're from some kind of paint-at-home kit, and there are all different shapes. They did them so carefully! I picture my parents huddled in their tiny apartment in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan, wearing fingerless gloves and painting these tiny mice, sleighs, and gingerbread cottages. Or that's my romantic image anyway. Last year Mom gave them all to me and we love having them.

Christmas Tree 2009


We finally got our tree all done late last week. It was a multi-day process, much to the kids' chagrin. I ran out of lights halfway up (last year's tree must have been shorter), and then I nearly lost my mind trying to buy more lights in Target. There were no basic white lights. Everything is all LED or "faceted" or craptacular in some way. I felt like Andy Rooney doing one of those "I'm a really old fusspot" routines. I tackled an employee and said, "Is it possible you don't have any more white lights?" And he said, "Oh, we been sold out of those. They're all anyone wanted." Which raises the question, why are they stocking all that other junk? Not that it was really junk, it's just that I wasn't about to rethink my whole lighting plan and unwind what I'd already done.

And you know, we just barely had enough ornaments. We used every single one we had. All the kid-made ones, all the old faves, all the filler silver and red glass balls that Hank hasn't broken yet. I guess I need to get the kids to step up production and make some more ornaments, if Mom and Dad aren't going to come through with another set of handpainted ones. They're just selfish, really.

25 comments:

Camp Papa said...

That picture of you in the third grade is too good for you. I'm taking it back until Laura and Hank get old enough to vie for it. And because you've made mock of the hand painted ornaments, you can be sure that you'll never see the ones we scrimshawed into walrus ivory back in the 1900's.

"How sharper than a serpent's tooth it is to have a thankless child!"

Becky said...

Whoa! "Made mock" of the handpainted ornaments?!? I thought my post was a tender homage to them. But if that's how you want to be, I'm taking back the sweet potato Laura painted at Thanksgiving. That's right, gone! No decorated tuber for you. Welcome to the NFL.

Erika said...

I'm dying. When I saw the picture I thought, "That's a cute picture of Matt. I can definitely see Hank in there." It's precious! Be sure to put your name on it, though, so that when the grandkids are fighting over it, they will know who it is. I'm serious. We have a few of those gender ambiguous photos from my parents and nobody can tell if it's Aunt Susan or Uncle Dave.

The tree is gorgeous!

Beth said...

I love your interactions with your dad on here; they are hilarious. BTW, how did your dad get so hip as to be able to comment on a blog? My parents don't even know what my blog is.

And speaking of your dad, O. M. G., I think your parents and my parents were separated at birth. Either that, or those hand painted wooden ornaments that fit together with slots were all the rage. We have a ton of those same ornaments! Well, my parents haven't parted with them, so I guess technically they have them. I loved this post-- I might have to do a similar one because we have some doozies, too.

Becky said...

Ooh, Beth, do it, we should have a blog carnival where everyone posts her ugliest tree ornament!

And yeah, he's hip. He's always been an early adopter. I kid you not: he had an Apple Newton. Do you remember those?

Erika, good advice! We might as well be those Victorian infants in long white gowns! And Lord, I have a toddler photo of Matt somewhere that will really kill you. It's the image of Hank, but such a sweet little Matt face.

delaine said...

I think your tree is beautiful ! I am so glad to see the old wooden ornaments in use. We painted them right before you were born. So you know how old they are. I'll look for some more oldies for you.

Lisa Lilienthal said...

OK I totally thought that was Matt, too (and I don't even know Matt) and the fact that your dad had a Newton explains so much - about him and about you for being his daughter!!

Becky said...

Ha ha, Lisa! It probably does. And the end of that Apple Newton story is that he broke the screen using it to kill a wasp. True tale.

Lisa Lilienthal said...

I love it! Speaking of broken screens, my precious 8-year-old sent the Wii remote flying into our flat screen during some hard core bowling. It now looks like it was the victim of a drive-by. A cautionary tale -- keep those wrist straps on tight!

The Dental Maven said...

Your tree looks stunning! White lights are definitely the way to go.

Kelly said...

As soon as I saw that ornament I was complimenting your third grade self and wishing my kids were that precise! Perhaps you had a little help...

Michele said...

Any dad that can use the word scrimshaw in a sentence gets my vote for "Dad of the Year".

And, ah, Dad? I'll take those walrus' because Becky's ungrateful and just doesn't deserve them.

Sucking up and begging in the same comment. Can we award points? Ha!

If you have an ugly ornament contest I'm in. Just remember I'm from the 70s. We could DO ugly.

Bren said...

The first time I ever saw a digital camera it was in the hands of Camp Papa. Blew my mind.

I'm totally in the colored lights camp. With one string of white at the bottom. They go great with vintage ornaments.

I realized this year that my kids have not brought home much in the way of ornaments for the tree. Guess I have to step in where public school leaves off in that regard.

Michele R said...

I knew it was you, Becky!
We haven't seen homemade ornaments in about 5 years because the public school is so diverse. But plenty of refrigerator magnets with their photos. Or snow globes. Or other knickknacks.

Jenni said...

Your tree is gorgeous. I wonder if I could so some kind of ornament w/Oscar and my charge Danny? they are only 2.5 - maybe something w/just construction paper and some little puff balls?

Mental Momma said...

Are we related? My parents made those ornaments too and I have them. I also have a dorky Sears photo, but stuck into a store bought ornament.

Amy said...

Well this post has definitely cleared a few things up for me. So, thanks Beck.
1. Mom and Dad love you more cause you got all the ornaments infused with sentimental value. Did they also give you the fossilized gingerbread man with MY picture on it? You viper!

2. You looked like a boy! You looked like a boy! (Oh wait. I did too, cause I had the same exact haircut. Never mind.)

Lovely tree, though. Even if it's decorated with stolen ornaments. I think you, Dave and I need to work out some sort of custody arrangement.

gretchen said...

So much to say...

1. After reading your father's comment I completely understand where you get your wit/writing skills.

2. Papa - I'm with Becky. I read tender homage.

3. I love the idea of an ugly ornament carnival. DO it!

4. I thought an Apple Newton was a cookie.

5. I'm so sorry you had that haircut. (Papa, you must take some responsibility for this).

Andy said...

Oh, that tree. No extensive rail system this year? It does make urban planning sense. Christmas Village is so decentralized and lacking in any strong urban financial/business centers. I mean, it's A workshop. Just one.

This year my decoration consisted solely of the ol' "Christmas lights in a wine bottle" DIY project. Several lacerations later, I really like the way it turned out. I'll definitely do it again next year, since I can afford to bleed, but not to spend money.

Camp Papa said...

Amy, you may enjoy simmering in your sibling rivalry stew more than knowing that Becky doesn't have all of the wooden ornaments. We've been holding out on you until you move back to the same continent as your parents. Now that I think of it, a bribe/blackmail doesn't work well unless the object of the coercion knows about it.

Seems that my parenting skills peaked when y'all were about 11.

Becky said...

Um, what do you mean I don't have them all? We can discuss this and other issues like duty and filial piety when we're all together.

Gretchen, thank you for your support.

I think I'll do another post urging people to post about their ugly, or rather, "quirky" ornaments.

Mental Momma, Beth, I think these must have been an early 70's phenom if all our parents have them. Funny, maybe we can make them hip again.

Andy, no train this year, alas. And please be careful with your decorating. Amy, it is YOU who look like a boy!

Keely said...

Ha, that's too cute. I love ornaments that are handmade, but my mother is selfish and won't give them to me yet. And she raised a lazy child who won't make her own.

Cassie said...

Lovely tree! I'm a purist myself when it comes to lights. Only tiny white ones will do.

And by the way, are your parents really "Yoopers"?! I didn't know you had Michigan roots!

Camp Papa said...

Cassie, Becky was born in the UP because we lived there when I was assigned to a tiny Air Force station on the Keweenaw Peninsula. That's the extent of her roots in Michigan. Her mother and I are natives of the deep south.

chnault said...

Your ongoing family interaction was as interesting as the post.