Monday, December 17, 2007

Ghosts of Christmas Past (Part 2)

From when I was born in 1960 until 1969 we went to my grandparents’ home in northwest Iowa for Christmas each year. For several years we flew (Ozark Airlines DC-3 propeller planes Iowa City to Sioux City) because it was much easier than trying to fight snow and ice for a seven hour drive.

My grandparents always had long needle pine Christmas trees. The tree was always set up in the parlor off the living room, a room whose only other regular use was to provide a place for Grandpa to take his after noon-dinner naps for 15 minutes before going back to work as an independent electrician. What made their tree spectacular were the lights. The lights on their tree looked like glowing snowballs. They were enormous and multi-colored. I didn’t know of anyone else who had lights like them.

In 2005 when we moved in here at Foxcroft my dad gave me an Ocean Spray Cranberry Juice box and said he thought I would appreciate the contents. I opened it up and found this:

And these:

All together I have over two dozen bulbs. Now they are on our tree:

I think they look great, especially since to go along with the snowball lights, we have these behind our regular lights:

That make this:

I had bought a huge box of old Christmas stuff over 20 years ago at an auction, and 15 of these were in there. I’m embarrassed to admit it took me three Christmases to figure out what they were.

In an age where we are buying incredibly expensive, but reputedly long lasting compact florescent lights, why are these lights all working nearly 50 years later?

1 comment:

Christopher Busta-Peck said...

Ahh, Lighted Ice. I will have some for my tree, when I have a tree. And a house.

I think that they last so long because they get so few hours of use each year, and because they're relatively sturdy, so filament breakage due to jostling isn't such an issue.

What surprises me is that they're relatively inexpensive. You can buy 30 or 40 year old Lighted Ice bulbs on eBay, new old stock, for around a dollar a bulb. Ridiculous. Just stay away from the ones of recent manufacture - they just don't look the same.