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The Christmas of Two Trees

I don’t remember if my parents laughed like my sisters did or if they just smiled

     It was Christmas in the early 1950s; people just getting over World War II. Wages were such that raising three children, paying for a house, heat, food and a car was stretching dollars to the limit.
     I attended Catholic school in Baltimore, complete with Dominican sisters and priests of some order. I rode a bus to and from school as it was several miles away. We had a Christmas tree in the school hallway, decorated no doubt with ancient holy ornaments.
     As Christmas neared, the word in my house was that there would be no tree this year.
     Shock!
     Being the only boy in the brood I took it upon myself to right this terrible wrong.
      Having no money of my own, I had to think outside the box. On the last day of school, with much trepidation, I approached my classroom nun and asked what would become of the school’s Christmas tree.
     It would be disposed of, I was told. Again, with trepidation — and not knowing how I would get it home — I asked if I could have it.
     At the end of the school day, it was me and the tree. I don’t remember the size, but it looked formidable given my small stature. I grabbed the base with my small hands and dragged my tree across the playground and on to the sidewalk.
      I dragged that poor tree several miles with quite a few stops to catch my breath. By the time I got the tree to my house, the needles had just about disappeared. It was pathetic looking, for sure. I was devastated.
      When my parents got home from work, they looked at the miserable tree and my crestfallen face. I don’t know if they laughed like my sisters did or if they just smiled.
      I do remember my father put me in the car, and we drove to a lot filled with trees. I picked out a tree, and Dad loaded it onto the car. That Christmas, there was a beautifully decorated tree in our living room.
 
A retired school teacher, Bud Stupi taught first grade for 26 years in Anne Arundel County. A member of The Colonial Players, he also works at Carrols Creek Café in Eastport.