Don’t ask me why, but every year at this time I think of the tiny Christmas tree near the first job I ever had.
It was in Elizabeth, New Jersey. I’d been born in Elizabeth, but that was more than two decades before I worked there. By the time I had a little office in Hersh Tower, the city was down at heel, to put it mildly.
Yet there was this amazing little tree.
Why I have never forgotten it, I don’t know. Subsequent New York City jobs were in walking distance of the Christmas tree at Rockefeller Center. You’d think my first thought of a tree would be that one.
It’s a little tree, not too well lit, that may – or may not – have been on East Jersey Street in Elizabeth. I recall having found a small stationery/book shop that, I think, was on that street. I know the tree was near the book shop, but this was all the way back in 1984, folks, and that’s all I know for sure. I remember an evergreen tree that wasn’t much taller than I was, with bluish white lights, and somehow, with color red in there, too. Green, blue-white, and red. Was it red balls and white lights? Was it red bows and white lights? And where, exactly, was it? A quick “tour” using Google Street View just revealed it couldn’t have been where I remember it.
Shops close, streets change, and parts of cities that are down at heel can be built back up again. Elizabeth does look a whole lot better on Google Street View at this moment!
I saw that small tree when I was finally out working, had graduated college, was no longer “trapped” in a classroom every day, was earning money, and my life was my own. I was, at last, “free.” So…the memory of particular that little holiday tree lighting up its corner of Elizabeth, somewhere in the vicinity of Hersh Tower, remains my favorite one of them all.