This traveling couple's preferred souvenir has always been angelic tree ornaments.
Each Christmas my husband, Walter, and I are surrounded by familiar faces from all over. They aren’t exactly friends who’ve traveled near and far. They’re more than that—they’re angels. Really.
It started in 1958 when we made a pact to travel as much as we could with our two young daughters. Don’t get me wrong, money was tight! I was an aide in the high school cafeteria and Walt worked in a factory. But we scrimped and saved and put aside money from each and every paycheck.
After a road trip to the Pennsylvania countryside, Walter surprised me with a gift: an angel ornament crafted from white yarn. She was beautiful—with impressive gold wings and a glittering crown. “I wanted you to have a reminder of our vacation,” he said. “And she just jumped out at me.”
That’s when I got a vision: “What about a whole tree of angels? One from every place we visit!”
Over the years, our angel tree grew: a ceramic cherub from the Blue Ridge Mountains, a seashell angel from Hawaii, lace beauties from Washington State. Walt often teased me for piling them all toward the front of the tree. But I didn’t want any angels to be missed!
A few years ago Walt came home with a smaller tree—one that wasn’t so difficult for us to manage now that we’re in our golden years. After we decorated it he flipped a switch. “Surprise!” he said.
Just like that, the tree rotated—displaying our entire collection of angels! And the best Christmas gift of all are the memories we have shared along the way
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