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...and we had spent the summer in California while my father worked on a project for his employer. I had loved living within walking distance of the beaches and experiencing the freedom of the suburbs--entirely new for city-bred me. Yet, I was looking forward to returning to our New York City home and entering 6th grade with my friends.
One evening, my father told us that our plans had changed and we would be staying on in Long Beach through the school year. I would go to 6th grade there and we would have Christmas in warm, breezy, sunny California. I was devastated. It was inconceivable!
Then I offered what I thought would be the game-changer: we couldn't have Christmas because all of our decorations were back in New York! And I knew my thrifty, practical, depression-era parents would NEVER buy a NEW set of ornaments. Gotcha! I thought.
But my ever-resourceful mother had an answer, of course. We would MAKE our ornaments out of tin-can tops. Two tops--silver on one side, gold on the other--with a slit cut to the middle of each, slipped neatly together to form three-dimensional "stars," albeit round ones. Frozen juice cans made small stars. Canned tomato tops made large stars. And hung on a string on the tree, each twisted gently flashing silver and gold. The effect was sophisticated.
Of course, I was horribly embarassed.
I thought that decorating our Christmas tree with TRASH was the ultimate statement of poverty. But somewhere I harbored a gruging respect for my mother's resourcefulness--and courage. And took those qualities with me into adult life--for which I am ever grateful. Thanks Mother and Daddy.