OKLAHOMA CITY, OKLAHOMA — You don’t have to walk far on a tour through Mary Williams’ Christmases past.
But you will go back a half-century to when her children were young. “They were in kindergarten then,” she says.
Back then she was casting about for a way to display items her kids made at school.
She settled on a simple, glittering garland and then let it spool out through the years. “I just wanted to show them,” explains Williams.
Each year she added three or four trinkets, school projects, souvenirs from trips she made or her family took.
Look upward and you might spot an elf from a carnival she went to in Wichita where her aunts lived, or a Pepsi bottle cap from Russia where her son travelled with a singing group.
A key chain from the Columbus, Ohio branch of Chase Bank hangs not too far away.
That’s where her daughter worked for a few years. If it went up on the garland she never forgot.
“We’d talk about them and they’d bring back memories,” she says. “And then we’d save more.”
Mary puts them all up every December. She figures there are more than 3-hundred items hung on rafters and window shades in her front room.
To anyone else they wouldn’t be of much value. To Mary, every one is precious. “They’re all connected to our lives and bring back memories,” she says. “We get together and talk about them for hours.”
Her unique timeline takes the Williams from their own children to their grandchildren.
There are no bad memories here to weigh things down.
This time floats on the good stuff, the ‘Mary’ Christmas cheer that ought to halo every house when families gather under a warm garland of memories.
“It’s like a scrapbook,” smiles Williams.