So we did not bring down the boxes from the attic and unpack the ornaments that are carefully wrapped in crumbling vintage newspaper scraps along with fresher, whiter more recent additions.
Jim and I have always favored a big tree - since our first Christmas together when we had nothing to put on it . This was taken our third Christmas. We were living in Brooklyn where Jim ws interning at Kings County Hospital. Jimmy was just a year old.
Because Jim and I lived away from either family of origin the tree took on a special meaning for us. As we added ornaments we took great care to keep them year-to- year.
The kids added homemade ornaments. We bought trinkets when we traveled that became a part of the Christmas Tree dress-up. Every year the decorating ritual added more stories and the tree became a family album.
In 2005 to celebrate our 50th wedding anniversay my art show ABOUT TIME at Gallery 10 was all about family . People were not surprised. Albums and personal content have been a presence in my art work since the 1970s. Including the Christmas Tree was a natural - a perfect fit - an album - a living art work. Family art.
The Christmas Tree is anonymous art work that families make together and value.
We installed the tree - family-style - in the smaller front room of the gallery. Jim reduced the tree to half a tree so that it fit flat on the wall like a relief - to set it up as an art piece. Karen and Monica and I strung the lights and added the ornaments. ( cllick for a larger view - to see the memory pieces)
Another part of the show was a collage album - made as an abacus. Remember - About Time. Jim made the abacus and I constructed the digital photo cubes and collaged them.
Jim and his crew, Jimmy, Karen and Monica installed the abacus .
The photos spanned our fifty years together and included kids, grandkids, family, friends, art pieces and special events - with collage elements to embellish and transform.
Jim and I have another of those anniversaries coming up - next week, December 30.
Another milestone - 52 years. Dick, who was Jim's Best Man, lives near Robin. We will have lunch together on the 30th - a very nice reunion.