Saturday, November 30, 2013

Just Press Board and a Bit of Flocking

Every year my friend, Wendy, says I have a minimalist Christmas tree because it is not laden with decorations that date way back. I'm not that kind of girl. However, I do have this church as part of my Christmas. I've kept it because of its story. Shall I tell you the story? Are you comfortable? Then, I'll begin . . . 

A long time ago, before I was born, my great aunt Rooke lived for a while with my mother's family in a huge house in High Park. Rooke was ''full of the devil'', as my grandmother, her sister, would say. She cared little for the expected way of life and was adored for it. 

Back in those days Eaton's Queen Street was a destination during December. Visiting the window displays was part of every Torontonian's holiday and landing a two week temporary job in the store was Christmas itself. And that's exactly what Rooke did. 

Christmas Eve circa 1948. Rooke finished work around 8 PM, took the streetcar to Keele and Bloor and walked up the hill, carrying an Eaton's box. Her laughing announced her arrival. It seems she helped herself to part of one of the window displays . . .  this wee church. 

Rooke died at 43 of a heart attack. As a result, my grandmother gave this church a reverence that I'm sure Rooke never intended. I 'inherited' it 25 years ago. The flocking is almost gone, but the original light still shines through the windows and the music box still plays, very slowly, Silent Night.

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