Thursday, February 16, 2017

San Diego, CA - Deconstruction With Tish

My aunt Marilyn has a huge collection of Department 56 villages and puts them up every year throughout her house. She first puts down some cardboard platforms over her cabinets and tables. Then she strings electric cords underneath them through holes in the platforms up to the top so that each of the buildings will have lights in them. Next she has to find the boxes in her garage with the houses and all the people, carriages, wagons, props, etc. and bring them into the house. Unpack them all, place them with lights in each building, then she has to put the boxes back into the garage. And, she’s only one person doing this. It must take forever.

Does she enjoy all the set up? Well, not as much as she used to. But she does enjoy sitting and looking at her villages all lit up at night. And they do have a magical quality.
Here’s the kitchen counter.
And, the sun room.
Pretty cool set-ups. All of these show an ideal world, where everyone is well clothed, well loved, well housed, is part of the middle and upper classes, is happy and has places to go and friends to see. Me? I’m the old history teacher, I close my eyes and see the way the average person lived in Victorian England: most were not well fed, few had homes of their own and these homes did not have utilities, none rode in carriages, most worked 12 - 14 hours a day, 6 days a week and seldom saw the sun, many did not have enough food to eat and their health was not the best. But, then I open my eyes and can see why my aunt loves watching them at night with all the lights aglow.

However, after Christmas, she has to take them down, put them in the correct boxes and stow them in the garage for the next year. She used to take several months to do this. This was before Gary and I appeared on the scene, snow-birding in San Diego. We offered to help and she accepted. Here’s the plan: she took some of the un-Department 56 things to pack. Fred, her husband, used to pack and Gary and I ran around to all the rooms, both upstairs and down stairs finding each of the little people, etc and giving them to Fred to pack. 2 days later, it was all done.

I’m not sure that she trusted us to do it correctly without breakage but we were there. Yes, we did it correctly and we had no breakage. However, even though she likes to do it herself, we took a lot of the work off her shoulders. So, she puts up with us.

Today is the day and Tish, her daughter from the East LA area, is coming also.
Here’s the powder room tableau with the bags of empty boxes. Tish’s job: fill those boxes with the little characters, props and then the houses.
I had the sunroom. Here’s the sun room after I’ve taken some of it down.

And, further.
And, finally the bags are full and it’s time for dinner.
Marilyn has her glass of wine - it’s been a long day and we’re all ready for a nice leisurely dinner.

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