My wife comes from 69th Street in Brooklyn. In the 50s, everyone lived a very modest life. The quality of life then doesn't even come close to the quality of life that most of us now take for granted.
We owned only one pair of sneakers, and we extended the usable lifetime of a failing sneaker by inserting cardboard into the bottom of the sneaker to cover a hole. We "had no clue" that we were poor, because everyone around us lived exactly the same way.
Christmas presents were scarce at that time; toys were few, and we usually got something practical instead, such as a pair of underwear! My wife's father sold Christmas trees on 69th Street in order to supplement the family income. A side job such as this does have its perks; my wife always had the biggest and most beautiful Christmas Tree in "all of Brooklyn!"
I inherited the tradition of having the "Biggest and Best Christmas Tree," when I married my wife, Marie. We now live in Patchogue and always purchase our Christmas tree at the same local place. The employees knew my wife by her first name; why, because they had to lift 47 Christmas trees for my wife, before she would select a tree. The employees always smiled as they participated in my wife's tree selection ritual; they too could feel her joy and enthusiasm; it was contagious!
Large Christmas trees did not come without their problems! My living room has a nine-foot ceiling; in the early days she had a tendency to select a 12-foot Christmas tree. So! For many years we had to cut three feet off the top of our Christmas trees. Yep! Our trees sometimes looked like a Trapazoid! What fond memories!
I will always remember our biggest quest for the most beautiful Christmas Tree! Armed with a Cassette Player and many Christmas Carol Tapes, two adults and three teenagers, piled into a Ford Fairmont mid-sized wagon, and drove to Eastern Long Island, to cut down our own Christmas Tree.
We could not find a tree that was big enough so we drove upstate, in order to find the perfect tree. Our biggest mistake was to cut down a tree that was over eight inches in diameter at its base!
The tree was beautiful, but it was also huge!
It took three teenagers and two adults to get this tremendous tree on the roof of our small car. The Christmas tree was so big that it offered a tremendous wind load to our car; our gas mileage was severely degraded. I couldn't understand why my small car was using so much gasoline! With the combined weight of two adults, three teenagers, and one huge tree, the small ford Fairmont wagon was essentially hugging the ground!
The tree cost us $25, and the expenses, and gasoline required to transport this huge tree back to Patchogue, cost us $150.
So we have a $25 dollar Christmas tree that cost us $150 dollars to transport home; a total of $175!
After 47 years of marriage we have honed and tweaked our Christmas tree selection process, to the point that is now an "art." Last year my wife and I selected our Christmas tree in only 15 minutes! Truly miraculous!
Marie still retains her superior skill in the art of "Christmas tree selection." It is an absolute certainty, that this year, we will once again have a beautiful Christmas tree. When we buy our Christmas Tree this year, I'm sure that we will have the "Most Beautiful Christmas Tree, in all of Long Island!"
Ho! Ho! Ho! Merry Christmas!!!