Christmas is a personal holiday. The older we get, the more memories we collect of time shared with others. When I saw @shaka's photo and read his invitation to make a holiday blog, the past flooded into the present.
The Template Photo Posted by @shaka
I thought of a clock, a highly polished grandfather clock, that used to chime upon the hour. The clock stood in my Uncle John's front entrance hall. I remember only happy moments in Uncle John's house. The best of those moments were at Christmas.
As readers of this blog know, for the first eleven years of my life I lived in rural New York. My family had economic challenges. There was no money for 'extras'. But every Christmas and Easter Uncle John would send us cash, so we could take a New York Central train to New York City.
Grand Central Terminal, 2009
Image credit: Kcdtsg(David) at en.wikipedia. Public domain.
New York City is impressive to anyone. For us, it was fairyland. All the concerns we had back home disappeared. My uncle and his wife, Aunt Anna, opened their home. They took us to the circus, and Rockefeller Center. They served bountiful meals, gave beautiful presents, and held house parties. My aunt sewed dresses for me and my two sisters.
Here I am in an Easter dress Aunt Anna made one year.
I believe it was 1952 that Uncle John went on his tour to Europe. He came home with souvenirs for everyone, especially souvenirs from the Vatican. The most precious souvenir he bought for himself was the grandfather clock. He had it shipped from Italy.
Once the clock had taken its place in the front hall, it dominated the house. Each hour, it reminded us of its magnificence, and of Uncle John's Grand Tour.
The SS United States on Its Maiden Voyage in 1952
Image credit: 'My late father'(Unknown name): Public domain
I don't know which cruise ship my uncle took on his tour, but the SS United States made its maiden voyage in 1952. I can imagine Uncle John on the ship.
The chiming of the grandfather clock became a part of every memory in that house. Its chiming marked the hours. These passed too quickly, for in a week the fairy tale would end (as all fairy tales must), and we would return to the challenges that faced us at home.
It's hard to know why the mind puts ideas together the way it does, but when I saw @shaka's little cabin and thought at the same time about Christmas, Uncle John's clock was before my eyes. The cabin looked like the casing from which the melodious chimes sounded. The manger, the tree, the star of Bethlehem--all of it came together seamlessly for me.
Making the collage was a happy experience.
I needed a grandfather clock, courtesy Anaterate on Pixabay
Then I needed to find a porch or balcony to put in front of @shaka's cabin--for Santa Claus and Mrs. Claus to sit on. I found that, courtesy of Pixibairis on Pixabay
I needed Mr. and Mrs. Claus, courtesy of Photoman on Pixabay
I found a Christmas village, courtesy of Couleur on Pixabay. Then I doubled the forest in @shaka's picture and placed that behind the village.
I placed the modified cabin, with Mr. and Mrs. Claus, on top of the clock, and put the clock in the center of the village:
I needed a Christmas tree, courtesy of finemayer on Pixabay
A few more modifications:
A manger, courtesy of Papazachariasa on Pixabay
Carolers, courtesy of no-longer-here on Pixabay.
The star came from Paint, the candles from Paint 3D. Lighting effects and GIF were accomplished with the help of GIMP.
Snow effect was created with LunaPic.
For those of my readers who celebrate Christmas, I hope you are able to find joy in these difficult times. To everyone else, I hope the season brings you peace and good health.
To @shaka, thank you. You can see I've had another pleasant excursion in the LMAC collage challenge. Thank you for the memories :))
The invitation to participate in this lovely exercise is open to all, enthusiasm the only requirement. The reward is a community of supportive collagists (yes, that's a word!), and the chance to win prizes. Check out @shaka's blog to see other collages, and to learn the rules of engagement. LMAC even has a collage school, with lesson plans prepared by our patient, resident teacher @quantumg.