Thursday, December 12, 2013

I'm skipping to THE Christmas Tree

Sorry for the "time warp" jump, but it's after the BIG MASS for Our Lady of Guadalupe, I'm exhausted and my mind wanders. Being a card-carrying child of the SIXTIES, I have very specific memories of my teenage years. Somewhere around '62 aluminum Christmas trees became a rage. One easily supposes that some forward thinking genuis pushed the environmental envelope way passed the ability of silk and plastic artistry to put the SPUTNIK version of Christmas Trees into American homes not only because of novelty but of its "perpetual" usefulness. In any case, both my maternal grandparents and my parents bought into it wholesale, with the four color rotating color wheel which really made it cool. And trust me, it was COOL. For some reason, both those existential trees were lost to the ravages of old age, tragedy and death's black hole where essentials of memory are swarmed into the vacuum and become memories. But I've never forgotten the virtual beauty, the 20th century elegance, of the aluminum tree. And between the genuine replicas costing 20 times what they're actually worth from cost to markup from jerk-faces like Sharper Image and Hammercher Schlemmer to the pitiful offerings of little faux tinsel versions of Walgreens, children with memories like mine are left adrift. No tree, fresh cut by yerself or acquired by a sweet deal from Grocery Outliet, can replace the Kennedy year's Aluminum Tree with the rotating color wheel for the zeitgeist of the era. Gotta be real. So, we have Christmas trees (those thin handmade ones) adorning our not so public den and grandson's room year round. They each have a specific mode of adornment, like clowns for the one in the man cave; a vesigial nod to my maternal grandfather and his second daughter, mom. But I want, I WANT to recreate the sheer coolness of having the aluminum tree and color wheel. I know where a dear friend and husband (hoarders, no doubt) have one stashed. I've repeatedly asked her and then him (he had know idea of its existence) to just sally forth into the maelstrom of the garage, but despite each promise (influenced by the offer of serious, real money) I don't think they'll find the original and transfer its ownership to me. Here's the deal: it's the last, finest vestige of the innocence of Christmas that I remember during my adolescense. I associate that tree with my first pair of wingtips, my father (surprisingly sober) helping his sophomore kid shave for the first time, my feeling worthy of being both Dad's kid and Zampa's good grandson... in other words that tree as my last recollection and signet of my transition to adulthood. So imagine the irony that, at 15, I was so proud to usher in my adulthood, which would only be zoomed in magnifcation in less than two months by my Dad's suicide. Posing for pictures by the silver tree I could wear slacks, a turtle nect green formal sweater, slacks and wingtip oxford that signified my coming of age, and feeling secure at Amah/Zampa's residence on South Grant. Maybe there was hope for my nuclear family. C'est la vie, C'est la morte. But I am hoping that karma through writing this will compel my friend to follow up on the promise made to locate that sum*itch antique aluminum tree and let a now very old man bask in the four colors dissected and radiated by the best of Alcoa. It's not life or death; I'm confident Jesus will cut me some slack on this irrational desire. And on this night of Our Lady of Guadalupe (Mass was great with bishop) I say 'g'nite. I'm going sleepy.) Hope I dream of that tree at the end of South Grant that dead ends into Paradise. (Oops, pun alert)
Love to Mom, Dad, Amah and Zampa....

No comments: