“I don’t think I was ever any more excited than on that last day at school before Christmas when Miss Dumire asked three of us girls to untrim the tree. She gave each of us a box and said, ‘Try to put the same amount in each box.’ So we were careful, helping each other as the teacher wanted. Then she said for us to be sure to put some of each kind of trimming in each one. Those soft, heavy icicles and the ropes of tinsel. The glass balls and the red candles clipped to the tree limbs.
When we finished, we set the boxes on top of the teacher’s desk, tied shut. Then at recess she called the three of us aside and asked if we would each take a box home with us so that it would get used over Christmas. Said she would get some new and different trimming for next year. She probably knew, and maybe I even had told her, that we didn’t trim a tree at home, that we didn’t have any trimming.”
“You probably asked for it,” Blanche chided.
“No, no indeed! I never would have done that; but I’m sure she could tell that I was one excited girl over the tree trimming. It was the prettiest stuff I had ever seen. It’s still about the prettiest thing I can think of.”
The reminiscence of this truly bright spot in Mamma’s life now brightened far more than the corner of her little home with the low ceiling and the unlevel floor. This was what home should be for her children and her man. As she opened the shoebox, the eager kids were almost uncontrollable with excitement over the dazzling tree ornaments for their very own tree; she struggled to keep them from spilling the ornaments all onto the floor.
“Now, kids, just you wait; wait till I take it all out here so we can see what we have. Then we’ll trim the tree.”
The kids, watching from perches on the chairs, were fascinated. Ruth and Foster and Franklin ooh-ed and aah-ed at the sparkling rope and the red balls. Then they all approached the bare, green, beautiful tree, and for a moment it was quiet.
source: “Sugarlands,” A family memoir by Foster Mullenax, McClain Printing Co, Parsons WV, 1980