Blinded by the Light / Cegado por la Luz

La versión español está después de la versión inglés.

IN 1986, SAN Geraldo, accepted a position at Yale University and we moved from Washington, D.C., to New Haven, Connecticut. For the first year and a half, we rented a house in town. It was built in the 1920s in a traditional Georgian style — two-story with a side-gabled roof and symmetrical window placement. Inside, however, there was nothing traditional about the place. In the 1970s, the interior was gutted and completely redesigned. The new partial second floor had a large master bedroom (and bath) and an awkwardly shaped loft space that ran along part of the front of the house and overlooked the living room. It was a very cool house, although we would have designed it quite differently. We quickly tired of the crumbling mortar inside and the sleazy landlord who was trying to buy up a series of historic homes in the neighborhood so he could tear them all down and build condos.

Anyway, the living room had been opened up to the roof line, which meant we had a lot of room for a Christmas tree. So, we went to a tree farm and found a freshly cut 14-foot (4.2 meter) tree. We tied it to the top of our Honda Civic Wagon, convinced the gusting winds would flip the car (and us). But at least we got a lot of laughs from others on the road.

There was plenty of space in the house to allow for the spread when the branches dropped. San Geraldo climbed to the top of our very tall step ladder to string the lights. When he reached the top of the ladder, the treetop was still several feet above his head. We might have managed that but what we hadn’t thought about was that the taper of the tree and the direct vertical of the ladder left about a 5-foot gap. There was no way either of us was going to reach across that broad divide to decorate.

So, clever boys that we were, we taped together three cardboard gift-wrap tubes and taped the hook end of a wire coat hanger to that. San Geraldo climbed the ladder, reached the hook end down to me, I hooked the lights and ornaments, and he placed them all on the tree. We became quite proficient. We had at that time about 250 ornaments. We strung garlands of popcorn, cranberries, and ziti (pasta… uncooked) around the entire tree. We added 75 candy canes and 750 white lights. The lights were so bright that we had to look at the tree sideways or we’d be blinded. When the season was over, we sawed branches off the tree to ease its removal through double doors that led to the deck and backyard. The next year we reigned ourselves in. We had a 9-foot tree (our new living room only had 10-foot ceilings) 350 lights, and about 275 ornaments.

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EN 1986, SAN Geraldo, aceptó un puesto en la Universidad de Yale y nos mudamos de Washington, D.C., a New Haven, Connecticut. Durante el primer año y medio, alquilamos una casa en la ciudad. Fue construido en la década de 1920 en un estilo georgiano tradicional: dos pisos con techo a dos aguas y colocación simétrica de ventanas. En el interior, sin embargo, no había nada tradicional en el lugar. En la década de 1970, el interior fue destripado y completamente rediseñado. El nuevo segundo piso parcial tenía un gran dormitorio principal (y baño) y un espacio tipo loft con forma incómoda que corría a lo largo de parte del frente de la casa y daba a la sala de estar. Era una casa muy chula, aunque la hubiéramos diseñado de manera bastante diferente. Rápidamente nos cansamos del mortero desmoronado en el interior y del sórdido propietario que estaba tratando de comprar una serie de casas históricas en el vecindario para poder derribarlas y construir condominios.

De todos modos, la sala de estar se había abierto a la línea del techo, lo que significaba que teníamos mucho espacio para un árbol de Navidad. Entonces, fuimos a una granja de árboles y encontramos un árbol recién cortado de 14 pies (4,2 metros). Lo ataron a la parte superior de nuestro Honda Civic Wagon, convencidos de que los fuertes vientos voltearían el auto (y a nosotros). Pero al menos recibimos muchas risas de otros en el camino.

Había mucho espacio en la casa para permitir la propagación cuando caían las ramas. San Geraldo subió a la cima de nuestra muy alta escalera de mano para enhebrar las luces. Cuando llegó a la cima de la escalera, la copa del árbol todavía estaba a varios pies por encima de su cabeza. Podríamos haberlo logrado, pero lo que no habíamos pensado era que el cono del árbol y la vertical directa de la escalera dejaban aproximadamente un espacio de 5 pies (1,5 metros). No había forma de que ninguno de los dos atravesara esa amplia división para decorar.

Entonces, muchachos inteligentes que éramos, unimos tres tubos de cartón para envolver regalos y unimos el extremo del gancho de una percha de alambre. San Geraldo subió la escalera, alcanzó el extremo del gancho hacia mí, enganché las luces y los adornos, y los colocó a todos en el árbol. Nos volvimos muy competentes. En ese momento teníamos alrededor de 250 adornos. Colgamos guirnaldas de palomitas de maíz, arándanos y ziti (pasta … sin cocinar) alrededor de todo el árbol. Agregamos 75 bastones de caramelo, y 750 luces blancas. Las luces eran tan brillantes que teníamos que mirar el árbol de lado o quedaríamos cegados. Cuando terminó la temporada, cortamos ramas del árbol para facilitar su extracción a través de puertas dobles que conducían a la cubierta y al patio trasero. Al año siguiente reinábamos. Teníamos un árbol de 9 pies (nuestra nueva sala de estar solo tenía techos de 10 pies) 350 luces y unos 275 adornos.

From one end of the loft, pre-tree. That’s SG’s “interesting” Aunt Mildred lounging during a spring-time visit.
Desde un extremo del loft, antes del árbol. Ella es la “interesante” tía Mildred de SG descansando durante una visita de primavera.
SG places the brass Santa at the top.
SG coloca al Papá Noel de bronce en la parte superior.

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Author: Moving with Mitchell

From Brooklyn, New York; to North Massapequa; back to Brooklyn; Brockport, New York; back to Brooklyn... To Boston, Massachusetts, where I met Jerry... To Marina del Rey, California; Washington, DC; New Haven and Guilford, Connecticut; San Diego, San Francisco, Palm Springs, and Santa Barbara, California; Las Vegas, Nevada; Irvine, California; Sevilla, Spain. And Fuengirola, Málaga..

19 thoughts on “Blinded by the Light / Cegado por la Luz”

  1. Wow, very pretty. We just helped my friend get her 12 foot tree on the weekend. I haven’t had a real tree since I was a kid though. Maybe next year (I keep saying that but….)

    1. Cheapchick:
      We stopped getting real trees when we moved back to Southern California in ’93. Our earlier time there, ’82/’83, we bought a “fresh” tree at a tree lot and watched it dropped about a third of it needles on the walk to the car!

    1. Debra:
      We WERE Christmas maniacs. I sure miss those trees, but not as much as I love these two rotten cats.

    1. Walt the Fourth:
      Neither do I. I think I was [conveniently] suffering from bursitis in both hips when that photo was taken. And I was only 32.

  2. Ah the “bright” ideas in our youth – a blinding Christmas tree! Sounds like some of my own ideas at that age. They do make for wonderful tales in our later years and a good laugh at ourselves.

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