Baby Jesus Brought Me to Bethlehem part 2
Following Christmas of 1964, I returned to the Smith College campus and found that all Christmas items in the gift shop were half price. Among those half price sales items was a lovely Nativity that was so very different from the one in the Met in New York that I had to have it! Joseph in a derby hat, Mary and her paper halo with gold polka dots, the shepherdess with a scarf, wooden sheep painted with flowers on their sides....just lovely!
For the next 45 years or so, every time I found a picture, figurine, ornament, book, card or other item depicting "The Nativity" -- that was on sale -- I had to have it!
When I married, in 1981, I married the son of a Presbyterian Minister, who was simply "over" Christmas decor, and wanted little or nothing to do with my Nativity collection.
It went down to the basement, where I add it to it surreptitiously over the next 30 years.
Fred had a series of strokes in 2010 and was moved to an assisted living facility. I knew I needed to be able to afford his housing as well as mine, and that my staying in Atlanta did not make that feasible. Where would I go? What would I do with all of the things in my three story house? I decided to give myself six months to empty the house, put it on the market, and relocate. I decided to start in the farthest corner of the basement, where "Baby Jesus" was located. I began packing the nativity items into plastic bins. Tens, hundreds, then many hundreds of Baby Jesi were discovered, lovingly wrapped up and boxed for storage. I had no idea there were so many! I did know that there were 100 tiny ones which fit on a tree with shelves that the janitor who worked in the school where I was Principal had created for me. Those had been displayed from 1970 through 1980.
As I am marveling at the multiplying Jesi, the door bell rang. It was a young man introducing himself as a realtor with a client wanting to purchase my house, sight unseen, because of its proximity to the finest public school in the city (NOTE: should they not all be "the finest?"). He offered me half a million dollars for the house, with closing to be in January. It was just after Thanksgiving. I would have less than 6 weeks to empty the house. I said there was no way I could do that! I needed at least 3 months just to sort, rid, and pack up everything (thinking how many more Jesi there were than I had known!)
One week later, he came back with a better offer and the idea that I could rent from his buyers during January, February and March.
This was an offer I could not refuse!