Friday, December 12, 2008

What I hated is cool again

One of my co-workers stopped me in the hall yesterday and asked me if he could buy the Evergleam aluminum tree and color wheel that my parents had. He knew about it because I'd mentioned to him how tacky I thought it was and how much I disliked it when I was a kid.

This tree was a legacy from the early 1960s. For some reason, my parents decided that having a real tree was not "progressive" so they decided to get an aluminum one.

Now to me at that time and still to this day, I love the smell of a real Christmas tree. We go out each year to the local tree farm to look for a good specimen. Heck, there are even hay rides to take you to go get your tree.

But the tree that I remember that took the shine out of Christmas was the one that came in the big flat box that said "Evergleam" on the side. It was a 4 foot model and would be placed on top of the Chippendale chest in the living room, right in front of the window. And to add insult to this, my father would plug in the color wheel that would rotate to color the tree with red, green, blue and gold.

I remember that the tree was decorated with red ornaments. No longer were the old glass ornaments from my earliest memory used. Nor were the cool bubble lights that I liked so much.
And the tree lived up to its advertising as being really durable--because it has lasted to this day.

I would go to other kid's houses, and they had real trees with colored lights and a great pine woods smell. I was ashamed that we had to have this metal thing in the window. But my father wasn't at all bothered by the Charlie Brown Christmas saga about how uncool metal trees were (Lucy sniping at Charlie Brown to get a pink metal one).

After I had my own place, all the trees were real. But my mother and father continued to use the aluminum one. After my dad died, my mother put it up every year until she finally went into assisted living. The aluminum tree in its box was relegated to closet storage. I was glad that I didn't get to see it. Until now....

And all of a sudden it seems that these vintage metal trees are much sought after. They have some kind of art deco charm. So after my colleague asked about buying the tree, and I replied that it had a kind of weird sentiment (surprising!) for me, I went home and found the old Evergleam in its box.

I took out all the branches from their waxy sleeves and put the tree up in the landing going up to the upstairs library. I must be in that nostalgic part of my life. Because for some reason, I think that the Evergleam needs to be out of its box. I have a 9 foot real tree in the parlor complete with bubble lights and all the handmade and antique glass ornaments that have been in the family. But I also have that old aluminum tree to remind me of a time when my parents were young and enjoyed the color wheel as it shown its light on a gleaming silver tree.

Have a great Friday everyone.


  1. I really love this post Syd. Maybe it is a sign that I am getting older but things that I thought were god awful as a child, seem sweet and nostalgic now.

    My grandparents had this white sparkly tree they insisted on putting up every year. They decorated it with totally mauve decorations. Yes, you heard me not pink but Mauve. Everything used to be mauve in their house... even the counter tops and tile floors.
    Ugh! But now that they have moved to FL I find I miss that mauve and all the good times we spent there.

    Thanks for triggering that memory. I can only imagine how beautiful your 9' tree is. Breathtaking and smells mm mm good. Take some pictures so we can all enjoy :)

    Happy Friday,

  2. Hysterical. I hated putting the branches back in their sleeves. Yes, my mother still has hers & the color wheel too. What an eyesore that thing is!

  3. What a beautiful post Syd. I love the idea of that horrid tree sitting with an admirer - you. Not because of its beauty, but because of its memories.

    This is great stuff.

  4. Living on the west coast for most of my life, the artificial trees were not the thing, moving to where I am now, nostalgia reigns and the evergleams are the thing...I love the color wheel, don't know why...loved this post and thank you for the great memories!


  5. The upstairs library and the downstairs parlour? Sounds like you live on a Clue board!
    Well..nostaglic feelings are normal this time of year..whatever normal is..and I think that goes year round.When life changes there are little pieces we can bring along and or unpack when need be for a little extra comfort and joy.

    ps.YouTube Bettie Page if you're curious about her ;)

  6. Oh my gosh!! We were just talking about these trees at work today and all had a memory of someone we loved with these trees. I always thought they were glamorous, then hideous and now, like you, they have a charm all their own. Maybe it's just sentimentality but nevertheless it has a place in my memories and my heart.

    Thank you for your post.

  7. Oh, you bring back such great memories. I especially remember how "progressive" we thought we were with the circulating lights that changed colors!

  8. We always cut our tree, thank God. I really get the nastalgia thing though. Every ornament on my tree has a story. I wish I still had something from my childhood though. jeNN

  9. when I was a kid, we had the silver tree with color wheel. I remember thinking we were so damn cool. I don't know if I knew the word "damn" back then or not though.

  10. I enjoy reading your blog very much.

    I have the privilege of passing an award onto you, that can be found in my blog.

    I hope you haven't received it already!


  11. what an eye opener. 'cause that tree IS your childhood, whether you like it or not. and now it has meaning for you. real nice. i'm glad you've got both trees up!

  12. You are gleaming with sentimentality.
    Keep the demn tree!

  13. Funny how that happens! I'm so excited I can comment again! Thank you Syd.

  14. Believe it or a kid...I thought the silver trees were kind of cool...I don't think I would have given up my real one..but anyway..just goes to show ya...the grass is always greener...I like that you kept the tree...

  15. Hi........
    Very cool your blog!
    Great! Keep writing.......
    Good week......You are welcomed to my blog......
    Wishing you in advance "A Merry X'mas and A Happy New Year"

  16. I found this blog yesterday and I'm reading it backwards..

    We had a blue tree when I was a little girl in Bensonhurst, NYC.

    Blue... I did not like it as a child; and I know I still would not.

    I'm an Agnostic for 30 years .. since 17 or so........and yet, I have in my living room a beautiful real Douglas Fir Tree...we also have a bunny now too. (still in NYC; different borough now). The bunny is hopping around the tree.. so tiny and sweet; it feels we are in Nature (my 12 year old and me)..

    We also got 2 RATS last month;(yes, rats) that we let out to exercise each day... A beautiful white one; and Black and White Drawf one.

    I did not want another dog; already had a Labrador and a Pug..and these pets are very clean and ideal (no barking or dog hair) and very amusing to watch. (even if I only allowed it because of my son).

    Since going to Al-Anon I'm taking JOY in just simple things like my Real Tree and little critters.........and LIFE. Loving myself more too. And I do have the REAL HORROR childhood stories......but now I'm living Recovered and not just a Survivor.

  17. that tree is too entertaining for words!!!!!!!!!!!!!


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