The other day I was watching a Christmas movie on Hallmark and the subject of the Rockefeller Tree came up. It was explained that during the depression the construction workers for the Rockefeller Center decorated a small tree with decorations made from their families. So, of course, wanting to learn more about history, I started looking it up.
And so the story begins.
The date: 1933
The building: 30 Rockefeller Center
On the land that John D. Rockefeller Jr leased from the Columbia University, construction of the Rockefeller Center began. The original building to be built on that land was an opera house, however, the cost of the opera house would need some help from donations from the University and Mr Rockefeller Jr; despite the support of Mr Rockefeller the construction of the opera house was canceled in December of 1929. This began the negotiations with RCA, NBC and RKO to build a mass media complex.
The date: 1933
The celebration: The Tree
Beginning in 1933 the unofficial tradition of decorating the tree starts during the construction of the Center and right in the middle of the Depression. Workers started by decorating a 20′ Balsam Fir with paper garlands, strings of cranberries and tin cans on Christmas Eve. Just two years late the tiny tree was replaced with the lighting of a 50′ tree becoming the “Holiday Beacon for New Yorker’s & Visitors Alike” and in 1936 the now famous skating rink was added.
WWII brought in the use of more patriotic decorations of red, white, blue and stars and in 1943 instead of one large tree, it was replaced with three smaller trees, donning one color of the flag on each tree. Sadly, in 1944 & 1945 due to black out restrictions the tree was unable to be lit and stayed dark for those two years. Never fear! After the war ended, the tree received a make over and was highlighted with ultraviolet light projectors making it look as if the trees globes were glowing in the dark.
The 1950’s brought larger trees and workers using scaffolding to decorate and taking nine days and 20 workers to complete the decorating process. That’s a LOT of lights! Finally, in 1951 NBC televised the tree lighting and has remained a Christmas tradition since. The 1960’s brought the beautiful Herald Angels (designed by Valerie Clarebouts) to the Channel Gardens near Fifth Ave.
1999 brought the tallest tree, a 100′ Spruce; whereas in 2006 the second tallest, a mere 94′, the heaviest (weighing in at 30,000 pounds (just where did they find a scale that went that high?)) and widest at 56′ wide. That’s a LOT of tree!!
You know that Star which sits on top of the tree? Well, that’s a Swarovski Star designed by German artist Michael Hammers. The star weights 550 lbs, is adorned with 25,000 crystals, 1,000,000 facets, is 9.5 ft wide and since the tree has gone green since 2007, the star uses 1,200 fewer kilowatts per day which is enough to power a 2,000 sq ft house for a month! (HONEY! Don’t look at the lighting bill)
While this tree may have started to lift the construction workers spirits it is now seen as “from the beginning … a gathering place and reflection of what was happening in the world around it” and “world-wide symbol of Christmas.”
If you are ever in NYC during Christmas time, remember to take a photo of a historical icon and spend a few hours at the skating rink!
Never worry about the size of your Christmas tree. In the eyes of children, they are all 30 feet tall.
**these photos are not all mine, no copy write infringement meant**
I have thought long and hard about today’s blog, which is why it’s late.
It’s becoming way too often I see the hate in people where they feel the need to go out and blow up, crash into, or shoot people; whether a school, movie theater, dance club, church, concerts, sporting events or holiday markets; on US soil or foreign lands, some times I don’t feel comfortable going anywhere. But, if I don’t, I let them win. They will try to take away my sense of security, but they won’t succeed. They will see that my sense of freedom or my desire to explore and live life to the fullest is squashed; but it won’t happen.
With that said; they can also make you stronger, bring people together and the bring out the goodness in people. The dividing lines we may know, for other reasons, no longer are there. People literally lay down their lives for others, even if they are total strangers, nothing is more evident than this past weeks shooting. The “victims” become Survivors and Heroes who become voices of those who can’t speak for themselves. They share the stories of the event, they share it all; the good, the bad and the terrifying. It’s their story to tell.
The Survivors and Heroes may either talk about it or they may shut down. If you happen to be part of their world and they want to talk about it, let them. No matter how many times they talk about. I have no idea how the Survivors and Heroes feel or process what they have witnessed and been through but; I had a friend tell me one time in an event which didn’t have a good outcome, “you talk about it. You talk about it until you don’t need to talk about it any more”. I can be their person. Be their advocate. Be their shoulder. Give them what they need. Listen to them any time of the day or night. They need to be heard. It’s their process, their story and it’s not for me to tell them when to stop.
On Sunday night, my sister had just landed in Las Vegas and she text me what was going on. They (her and her hubby) were there and they were watching ambulance after ambulance go by. She had been told there was an active shooter at the hotel, but she couldn’t find any information on it. I felt so helpless and so scared for her and her hubby. I watched the news. I cried. I broke down as the scene literally unfolded before me. She has a story, it’s her story to tell and I will listen and be her person, if she wants me to. Sitting there watching, I knew all I could do was pray. I called my momma to let her know what was happening before she she saw it on TV. I mean, who wants to wake up to that when they know your child is there? Then I prayed some more.
The event goes on and I keep watching the news (all the time), I want more information, I want answers when they aren’t ready to be released, I want the reporters to stop asking the same questions, stop trying to interview the survivors/victims/heroes while they are trying to get through the initial shock. I watch as the world posts pictures from the event they have been at and then there are those pictures which have been edited, videos which are melded together for more drama: raising other questions or implying there are other sources, people or weapons for this violence.
I watch as the rest of the world demands changes and listen to people who think of ways to stop this madness. While they do that, we give blood, send donations, and volunteer. We do whatever we can to help make ourselves feel useful. We want to make a difference and to let the Survivors and Heroes know we care; even if they never know. We aren’t out for self glory, we aren’t out to save the world. We are out to help, if only just one person.
You never know when, where or how your time is up, (at least I don’t know) but until then: Don’t let the fear of dying overwhelm your chance to live, love, laugh and dance. I’m not done traveling this big beautiful world, learning about other people and lands. Seeing the marvels of the world, even if it’s my own back yard.
They will not win
Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.
Martin Luther King, Jr.
These statements are my own. I am not a counselor, psychologist, first responder or behavioral specialist. These are my own thoughts and perceptions.
When you were a little kid what was your dream job?
What did you want to be when you grew up?
Did you want to be an Astronaut? A doctor? Lawyer?
Did you want to be a mommy or daddy? A teacher?
Did you make that dream come true or did you find yourself on a different plan?
I was in jr. high school when I realized I loved baking and my great plan was to go to Paris to learn the art of baking. However, I found myself on a totally different path when I hit high school. The wonderful thing about my new path; it would bring me the joy of my life, my son! I have never looked back on what I may have I missed, but each day, I know I am blessed with what he has given me.
I’ve had several jobs in my 33 years since the day of high school graduation and I admit, they haven’t all been easy. However, we were never really told this was going to be an easy life. We were promised, though, it would be worth it. So, I still tend to dream about my dream job and how wonderful I will be at it.
So what is my now, new dream job?
If money, education and language barriers were no object: I would love to be a blogger traveling the world, taking photos of churches, cathedrals, skies, water…just about everything! I love seeing new places where I love to take pictures. Heck, I love to take pictures at home. Not so much of me, but of everything else around. Except bugs, don’t like bugs. When I look through the lens of a camera and look beyond the initial scene and really see into what is there, I have the best feeling in the world. Whether it be a rainbow, a man catching a fish or a baby being born, there is always more than one side to look at things.
A picture made using a camera, in which an image is focused on to light-sensitive material and then made visible and permanent by chemical treatment, or stored digitally.”
Many definitions for a simple word. Except the simple word becomes complex when you add; light, human, animal, event, history, celebrations, emotions or challenges. What I might see and feel can be totally different from what you see and feel and yet, we are looking at the same thing. When I look at a photo of an ancient ruin it brings questions to my mind; How was that made, destroyed, used? Who lived or worked there? Are the halls full of hate or happiness? Present day cathedrals bring to me a feeling of awe, so much so, I remain quiet. Can you hear the choir or the sermon? How did the architecture come about? What do these walls want you to know?
When I was in Alaska, I took pictures of the sky, the ocean and the glaciers. I tried to take the photos I wanted to remember, but not just to look at, but to hear the sound, feel the mist or the sun rays, feel the rain or hear the quietness. My photo of the glaciers remind me of how powerless and small I am. How nature rules and how history can come to life. The photo silences me every time I look at it and remember the peace of the ocean, the sound of the waves, the crash of the glacier calving and the stillness of the air. Can I convey to you, how I felt and bring you into the picture with me, I hope so. I know, in my dream job, I can.
Traveling also brings food and drink. I love to take food porn, nothing x rated, just beautiful (and sometimes, not so beautiful) photos of what you ordered hoping to have the best experience of your life or just to eat your most favorite food ever or even, discover what a certain food may look like.
Have you ever eaten a dessert and you know you may never find or replicate it again? Do you remember which emotion it brought to you when you tasted the first bite? I have photos from a vacation I took, where I was able to taste foods I will probably never see again. I remember the taste of the chocolate cake and remember how incredibly chocolate it was without being too sweet or bitter and happy it made me. The photos may never do the original product justice, but the words attached can truly illicit thoughts, tastes, smells, memories you may have had some place some time you didn’t remember and now it’s right in front of you.
So, where would I go on my adventures. I would totally go back to Alaska and see more of the land, not just the sea. I would love to cross off every state in the US off my bucket list and I would love to photograph my husband experiencing every baseball park in America and Canada. The look of a kid, the joy of the game and his happy place showing in his eyes. It’s nothing I would want to forget.
The top world trips on my list are:
Paris – The Eiffel Tower – Arc de Triumph – The Louvre – The Catacombs
Italy – St. Peters Bassilica – Valley of the Temples – Rome – Lake Como – Pompeii – Colosseum
Germany – Heidelberg Castle – Mannheim Residential Palace – The Berlin Wall – The Rhine – The Holocaust Memorial – The Black Forest
Each country must also include any castles, cathedrals, palaces or churches.
So when you remember what you wanted to do when you grew up doesn’t go quite the way you planned, remember, just yell PLOT TWIST and hang on. Never stop dreaming, even if it’s just for one day you get to experience your dream job, one day may be more than you ever expected.
“God’s plan for your life is happening right now. It doesn’t begin when you get married or when you get your dream job or when everything feels perfect. You are IN the plan. – Tara Leigh Cobble