One December when I was about 8 or 9 years old, my father took us to Simpsons Department Store in downtown Montreal and bought Susan and I a Christmas village. It was a series of tiny houses. I remember that they had white glitter on the roofs which made them look like they were blanketed with snow. The best thing about them was that there was a little light bulb inside of each house, so a soft glow of light would shine out of each window. We set the village up in our bedroom on top of our dresser. We loved to turn the light off in the room and enjoy the glow of our little village. It was truly magical.
After Christmas, we packed up our village to store it away for the next year. We lived in an apartment and so storage space was scarce. We did have a wooden locker in the basement of our building. This is where we stored our Christmas decor. The locker was secured with a pad lock, however they were very easy to break into. I'm not sure when it was that we discovered that our village had been stolen out of our locker. I seem to think that there were many lockers that were broken into at the same time. None of our other decorations were gone, but I guess our amazing village was just too tempting to pass up.
Fast forward to the next Christmas. I remember that there was talk of how great our village had been and how we were sad that it was gone. Soon after, my father comes home from work one night with a stack of construction paper and some tape. If the truth be known, they were report covers taken from the supply room at his office. LOL Dad gave us our "hot" supplies and told us that we should make our own village.
Well, Susan and I got busy cutting and sticking and constructing our new village. We got a can of fake snow to replace the white glittery roof tops of our first village. Since our houses had no light inside of them we got an old string of Christmas lights and strung them around our dresser and dresser mirror. When we were finished I remember feeling so happy with what we had accomplished. I knew that it wasn't as pretty as the store bought village and yet to me it was even more beautiful because we had made it ourselves. I also remember that the Christmas lights were brighter and gave our bedroom an even better Christmas atmosphere than the tiny lights in the first village.
During the Christmas season throughout the years, I would often remember our little handmade village and recall it's charm and beauty. Fast forward to last summer. With the passing of both of my parents, my brother Andrew took the family archives of negatives home with him to Montreal. Andrew spent hours and hours scanning each and every negative and slide and set up a Flickr account so that we could all enjoy the White Family Archives. I was beyond pleased when a photo of our handmade Christmas village appeared . I never remember there being a hard copy of this image. Maybe there never was. Close inspection of our work took me back. It wasn't at all as beautiful as I had recalled from my child's eye. I think as the years passed I placed the pedestal that held our village higher and higher. ha ha But isn't that the great thing about being a child, especially at Christmas time, everything is just so magical.
Behold the village.