Monday, December 6, 2010

Aunt Barbara and the Angel

Decorating traditions bring Central Ohioans comfort and joy

Sunday, November 21, 2010  03:02 AM

By Jim Weiker

Barbara Schmitz poses with an angel given to her by her brother.
Aunt Barbara with an angel from Uncle Johnny

Barbara Schmitz, Dublin, Ohio  
When decorating the family tree in 1972, Barbara Schmitz hung a small, clear plastic angel. The ornament was new that year, but Schmitz didn't mention it to anyone. It was her quiet way of acknowledging the baby she lost to a miscarriage eight months earlier.    The next year, the Dublin woman bought another angel ornament. Each Christmas she added another.   

This angel from Barbara Schmitz's collection of about 75 figurines belonged to her mother."I kept it to myself for a long time," said Schmitz, now 69 and the mother of three. "After I told people, my family, friends and relatives all started giving me angel ornaments."    Schmitz estimates that she now has 75 of the decorations, in all shapes, sizes and materials - glass, wood, pewter, paper, porcelain, steel, even a shell angel from Hawaii and a small plastic red angel once filled with juice that her daughter bought long ago at the checkout counter of a   Gold Circle store. The angel ornaments became so numerous that she bought a larger tree a few years ago to accommodate them all.   

When she decorates this week, Schmitz will place the angels on the tree randomly - except for her first one, which is always front and center.    "I always wanted to believe it was a little girl we lost, and that now she's an angel watching over me."     

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