Old Friends

Dear Liza,

Our Christmas tree is a look back at our lives. When your Daddy David was little, Grandpa Nelson and I attended synagogue and celebrated Hanukah. There weren’t any Christmas ornaments in the house!

But we had both been raised with Christmas, and Great Grandma Billie had lots of ornaments. When Auntie Bridgett came to live with us, she brought lots of them… breakables and stuffies, religious and silly, you name it.

Kitty’s duckies

She loves Christmas so much that we started celebrating it again! And I am glad we did. Some ornaments remind us of dear friends who aren’t nearby. Kitty Petruccelli ‘visits’ us every year with her silly rubber duckies.

When Great Grandma Billie got older and came to be closer to us in Salinas, she got to see our tree with some of her ornaments and Bridgett’s, as well. It helped her feel at home.

Momma’s pine cone

When she passed away, her decorations let me celebrate a little of her joy and history.

Ornaments let me celebrate other people, as well. A former student, known as Ex, made this for me about 20 years ago. He was a sweet soul with a hard life. I have no way of knowing where he is now, but I wish his happy heart well.

Ex Wells’ sweet face

When we travel, Auntie Bridgett makes sure we get a souvenir that we can see every year. Here is a tiny gnome form Strausburg, France.

From France…

This delicate wooden scene came from the Christmas market in Cologne, Germany.

…and Germany

Every year we pick up a few ones, so we keep making new memories.


Grandma Judy

Tree of Memories

Dear Liza,

Well, our new Christmas tree is up and decorated. It looks so pretty, sitting by the window of our new home. But I love it mostly for the memories it is decorated with.

Auntie Bridgett has ornaments from her childhood in Eureka, California. Her first Snoopy ornament, along with two ceramic angels she painted with her mom when she was seven, hold precious memories for her.

Auntie Bridgett’s Angels



I have some ornaments that belonged to great-grandma Billie. The pine cone is so fragile, I am surprised it has lasted the sixty-or-so years it has, and her love of birds is shown in all the feathered friends now perched on my tree.









Great Grandma Billie’s Pine cone and birds

We have bought ornaments on our travels, too. Admiral Nelson is from our trip to London. He is no relation to Grandpa Nelson.

Admiral Horatio Charles Nelson (No relation)

Sometimes, the connection is harder to see. These tiny gnomes are from Cologne, Germany.img_2125.jpg

When we were there, we heard a tale that hundreds of years ago, a bunch of little men would come every night and do people’s chores….clean the house, milk the cows, stuff like that. The story continues that a young housewife became curious, and wanted to see the little men for herself.



When she surprised the gnomes at their work, they got mad and left, never to return. Needless to say, the town was very angry with her and even built a statue of her, to warn against investigating magical things too closely.

I love that so many stories play out in my head when I look at our tree. I love that we get tell the stories again, every year.


Grandma Judy