One of the first gifts I ever purchased with my own earned money was this angel. She sat sedately on a shelf in a five and dime. I was drawn to her sweet, angelic face as she rested upon the shelf. She was gazing down at me.
I gently picked this angel up, held her, turned her around, and discovered something moveable on the bottom. It was a round, wooden wheel, hidden under the angel’s skirt. I turned it, and to my delight, it was a music box.
I wound the wheel, and watched her twirl around, ever-so-slowly, as Silent Night hummed through the store. The angel spun round, her serene face never altering its peaceful expression, her delicate hands gracefully holding her music, her soft cheeks in a sweet blush.
She was the first angel I ever bought, though she was not to be mine. That I would keep her never entered my mind when I discovered her. I was not looking for a Christmas present. I was just looking around in the youthful way of a young girl in the 1960’s.
There was a small sticker on the bottom. It was $3 and some cents. I had about $8 on me; a rather large sum for then. It was money I saved; for what I did not know. I had been doing a lot of babysitting. At fifty cents an hour, it took me six hours to earn enough money to buy this angel. There was a sense of pride and accomplishment at having earned it and a sense of purpose as I made my purchase.
I would give the angel to my Yia Yia for Christmas.
I showed it to my father, asking him if I could give it to Yia Yia. In those days, in my home, it was the right thing to do; to ask first, respectfully. I sought affirmation for my purchase as well. He was kind in his response, and, I recall, just a little surprised. “You bought this with your babysitting money for Yia Yia?”. It was one of those moments that I knew Daddy was proud of my actions. He told me it would be a very nice gift for her and that Yia Yia would, indeed, like it.
She did! She turned the little wheel and she enjoyed the music, then she put it on her nightstand. Every-so-often, I would hear the tinny sound of “Silent Night” and my heart would swell with love.
After Yia Yia passed away, my Aunt Christina, Yia Yia’s only daughter, gave me the angel. I keep it out and turn the wheel, every-so-often. Come Christmas, this little angel joins a congregation of others who have formed a choir of heavenly hosts atop the piano. She occasionally takes a few turns around her base, or innocently strums a few notes if someone with a heavy footfall walks past.
The oft used phrase, the gift that keeps on giving, comes to mind when I bring this angel out to our Christmas Room each Advent Season. She has gone from the hands of this granddaughter to her grandmother, and then back again. A certain young miss, who first named the Christmas Room, noticed the angel last year. I think it is time to tell her this little story, and to tell it for a few years more, perhaps. I think family stories, no matter how small, have a way of ripening with the retelling and with age. We need to know our stories, to hear them and to receive them in our hearts first.
Do you remember the first gift you bought with your own money? .
I love that the angel’s book has notes on the pages.