The small box looked familiar. I came across it recently as I was emptying my mother’s apartment following her transition into nursing care at the retirement community, where she has lived for many years now. It was tucked in among her “Christmas-things storage box”, and was marked by its plainness.
But when I opened it, I saw myself as a very young child – no more than 4 or 5 – standing in a Woolworth’s Five and Dime store, captivated by the tiny figures, six of them, arranged in their segmented box. Six little musician figures, made out of cardboard, pipe cleaners, spun cotton, and paper mache.
From that Christmas in 1954 or ’55 on, they were always part of our magical Decembers. I used to look forward to having them reappear each holiday season, with their whimsical faces, their sparkly coats and golden instruments. They were a child’s joy.
But then, in my early twenties, life took me elsewhere, to another state and another part of the country. I no longer went “home” for Christmas, because home had become my own house and my own family. And so it was, that for over 40 years, I had not seen these little men, these tiny musicians with their constant smiles and happy demeanors. In fact, now I realize, with the passage of so many years, I had forgotten about them, never realizing that they had continued to be part of my mother’s holiday every year. But then – I found them, not much worse for the wear of so many years. Their little cone-shaped hats now all had a wrinkle at the top, the top of the bass violin was missing, and one head was a little askew. But to me they looked perfect.
This little band of elfish musicians now have a new home here in Pennsylvania. I am struck by the knowledge that they share a decade provenance with so many of my vintage patterns; they are contemporaries, frozen in time but completely at home in this decade 60 years later.
I like to think these petite musicians are happy with the thought that there are now new children to delight within our growing family. They certainly look happy! I suspect they are playing a traditional Christmas Carol with great gusto and with sound loud enough never to be forgotten again.
And now, with two weeks to go in December, it is time to bid adieu to 2014. I wish you, all my readers, a most blessed Christmas and holiday season. 2015 will find us in a new sewing year, full of promise and excitement. I do hope you will join me in early January. . .