Reading a column by Margaret Renkl in the New York Times
this week made me aware that we have a time capsule in our living
room each holiday season a Christmas tree and surrounding
decorations just full of family memories.
Some of our ornaments and Christmas-related figures are
artifacts from three generations of Schraders. My grandmother
Ethel Schraders milk pitcher holding artificial poinsettias,
a Hummel figurine from my mothers collection depicting
Baby Jesus in the manger, the HO-scale train running under the
tree bought for our boys some 40 years ago, and a German nutcracker
I bought for Kay while taking part in a NATO broken arrow
training exercise in the mid-1980s.
Just scanning the ornaments on our tree, I find a Christmas
ornament made from dough and painted by one son and two popsicle
sticks forming a cross wrapped in red yarn by another. There
are custom-made ornaments from our California homeLivermore,
and one depicting Waterman where I was born.
Then there is the winged ear ornament representing DeKalb
Ag, where my father once worked, and a school bell reminding
me that my mother was a school teacher in three country schools
around Waterman, and then four town schools in Somonauk,
Hinckley, Kingston and Genoa.
Looking further up and down the tree, I find the Dallas
Cowboys globe added when one son followed that team, and an Elvis
photo globe, our sons favorite pop star in their early
years (and mine too).
There are some hand-painted eggs beautifully decorated
by Kays Aunt Daisy back in the 1960s, and a gift ornament
from Kays PEO chapter in California. A Union Jack ornament
reminds us of our trip to England. A hand-crocheted one was made
by my mother, plus several more that I dont remember who
made or gave them to us. I should have kept a
Not mentioned in the column, but significant to the
Schraders, is a tree with 25 ornaments from the US Congressional
Historical Society, one from each of the 25 years son Darrin
has worked in Congress. Barry holds the one for this year, a
depiction of a stained glass window in the capitol rotunda. (Schrader
Christmas ornaments and figures the Schrader family
has accumulated over the years in include, from left, an angel
carved by an artisan in a small Russian village, a Hummel figurine
of the Baby Jesus in a manger, and a German nutcracker. (Schrader