This is “The Trellis Tree.” It was made with an old white trellis (the wooden kind that fans out) that I found for $15. I wasn’t quite sure what I was going to do with it. First I set it up against the wall right side up. No, that didn’t speak to me.
Yet, in the back of my mind, I knew what I needed it to represent.
So I set it upside down, stood back, and mulled the situation over. Yes, I could do something with this.
Back in my younger days as a freelance journalist, I wrote a lot of tough articles. The hardest of all were about missing children who were never found, and the children who fell victim to predators.
They all still live in my heart. I will never forget their rooms. Or the young bodies tossed into a ditch beside the road for all to see, like trash. How can one ever forget these things? And what kind of animal that walks among us could do such a thing?
I chose to cover the trellis tree in vintage child images I printed off the computer. It would be my tribute to the children missing or long dead, never to have the chance to spend Christmas with their families again.
The clocks represent time cut short. Innocence brutally violated because they just happened to be in the wrong place at the wrong time.
Inside the plant stand I laid teddy bears atop my oldest found quilt. The teddy bears are reminiscent of those I saw in their rooms, lovingly laid on their bed pillows.
I made a wreath with similar vintage images.
One thing I learned, a pattern I saw when I’d go in perhaps three years from the time they were taken or murdered, was that the rooms never change.
Dust sat on the surfaces. But the parents were loath to change the rooms at all. That to me was the most haunting thing I remember.
The softball trophies of a missing 13 year old girl. The stuffed animals on the bed of a murdered child taken from school grounds.
I guess they never ever lose hope. How could you and go on?
It is these images that stick in my mind and that I can still see from memory. The things a girl just beginning adolescence would have. A whole lifetime ahead of them, cut short by some psychopath who cared not a whit for human life.
I will never forget one of those children, though it has been many years. I cannot begin to imagine the pain of those parents. And I cannot spend a holiday without giving homage to them somehow.
After I finished one article about a 12 year old girl snatched from a crowd of children and parents after a football game, I decided that I wanted to go to the cemetery. It was my way of ending things and trying to get it out of my head. A period at the end of the sentence.
With me was the assistant district attorney who worked the case, and put the man who killed her in prison. It was cold and the wind was blustery. He stood before her grave and I could see that his emotions were getting the best of him, so I walked away a bit to give him some privacy.
As I walked further away, I could hear the sound of Christmas music. I stopped and tried to pinpoint where it was coming from. I realized then that it was coming from the girl’s school. The school band was playing holiday music. The wrong notes that crept in made me smile.
There seemed to me to be a reason that I was there at that particular time when her school carried on, as we all must. I motioned the district attorney over so he could hear it too.
I hope this does not sadden you too much to read this. I know this is the Christmas season, and that should be a joyful time. I do not write this to bring your spirits down. But to be thankful for what you have.
I wrote it to remind you to hug your little ones close. I wrote this so that you will think of those parents, and perhaps even light a candle for them.
A simple white trellis turned upside down to resemble a Christmas tree is my tribute to them all.
Thrift Store Christmas Decor Challenge by BrocanteuseRose