Feel free to ignore because the following might sound a little weird and personal. But I really, really have to share this because I possibly got myself my personal very best christmas present ever - after eight weeks desperation.
But first things first. A Merry Christmas to you all! Happy Holidays and I hope a ton of Christmas Spirit :).
Let's start the story:
When I was eight years old my parents celebrated their 25th anniversary. Back then, in 1979, Germany still was split in two parts, and so were my parents families. While my mother barely had contact to her relatives at that time (what changed later), my father's only surviving older brother and my father had a lot contact. I vaguely remember a trip to my uncle's farm near Eisenach, and how much I loved it there. He really lived in the middle of nowhere, the closest neighbor two or three kilometres away.
Anyway, my uncle came to celebrate my parents anniversary, which was a huge surprise back then as citizens of the GDR barely got out of their part of Germany. Usually they got permission for special family-events, so as the anniversary. As the celebration took place around the middle of November, when four members (including myself) of my family also had their birthdays, my uncle brought more than only the present for my parents. And as it was something we barely got in Western Germany, he brought Christmas-stuff for us: my brother got a "Smoking Man" (a figurine with an open mouth who can smoke with insence put into his body), and three candle-pyramids for each, my mother, my sister and me. My mother got the biggest one, two storys high, with amazing carvings. My sister's was one story high, as the other one out of wood and also with beautiful crafted figures inside. I got the smallest one, out of brass with two little chimes, reminding a little of a stylized Christmastree.
Today candle- or light-pyramids aren't that exotic anymore, back then you barely saw them anywhere, and if so they were very expensive. So, those pyramids were a huge present for us, for me the start of an obsession, as I now think my interest in these pyramids back then when they were unusual, triggered me starting to collect them after I got my first job. These days I have 20 pyramids, and still I own the brass one. It's beaten and burned but I still love it - and it's still light up the last day before Christmas to sort of ring in Christmas for me.
Well, that's how it started, but the story isn't over yet. Shortly after my uncle went back to his place and the time of the advent started my mother and my sister decided, it was time to try out their pyramids - and both didn't work. What we didn't know back then was the fact that both pyramids missed a tiny piece of porcelain which is the base for the movement of the whole thing. If that thing is missing, you got yourself a problem. My father somehow figured out the problem but as this kind of christmas decoration was so rare back then there was no chance to fix it. My sister tried to put a coin under the middle-table, and that finally worked. My mother's though never really worked (surprisingly my brass one never had any problem running. Just the opposite, I always had a hard time to stop the top from take off).
Fact was, the huge, two story high candle-pyramid of my mother's ended up as a nice decoration to look at - and three years later it went missing at all. When I asked my mother where her pyramid was she said to me, she had given it away to one of my sisters-in-law, but it never showed up anywhere. I missed the pyramid terribly as I really had fallen in love with that thing, working or not, it was beautiful in my eyes and I always hoped my mother would give it to me one day.
Years later, after the fall of the Berlin Wall, pyramids became common in complete Germany, and much cheaper. When I was twenty years old my parents got me a three story candle pyramid, which I like. Unfortunately after I used it one night and wanted to put it back on ints place one of the wings got loose and fell behind the dresser. When I told my mother she gave to me a single wooden wing which I instantly recognized as one of the missing pyramid. I asked her where it was but she only said she has some wings spared just in case she needed them. Then I knew she had thrown the pyramid out and put it in the trash - which made me very, very sad.
I never found anywhere a candle-pyramid like my mother or my sister had (by the way, my sister sold hers when I was a teenager on a flea-market). I think that might be why I finally started to collect. I fell in love with them when I was a kid, I saw two disappear but now I got my own money and I had the opportunity to "save" other pyramids from being put in the trash - the most of the ones I have today are used ones I found on flea-markets or second-hand-shops.
Last month, when I was on my way to meet a friend to go to the annual fair I came accross the window of an antiques-shop. Sometimes they have interesting stuff there, usually way out of my price-range, but still cool to look at. But this time I was stopped in my tracks and felt like I was hit by a train: there in the window was standing the very same candle-pyramid I fell in love with when I was a kid. No, it wasn't the same my mother had thrown away (as this one is actually working :D), but it was the same kind: two storys high, with candle-holder over the these two storys, with the carved figures I always had made up storys about when I was little. I was baffled! I never thought I would see this pyramid again, NEVER!
I had to ask, so I went into the shop and asked what they wanted. The owner told me a hundred Euros, which definetely was out of my price range, as expected. I felt devasted but I asked if he could put the one at the side, I wanted to try to get somehow the money together. He looked a little surprised, as he had another pyramid there which was cheaper and very pretty, but I wanted the one I knew.
So I put away every cent I could during November, and was even more devasted after I finally counted my outcome, only to find, I barely had collected 10 bucks at all. I have to say, I also lost my "sort of job" in November. For the past years I helped my 90+ neighbor with things she cannot do on her own anymore. like cleaning the stairs, getting the curtains up and down for cleaning them, and such. I never asked but she always gave a little money to me for helping her. Around my birthday she came to me, telling me she now had an official cleaning lady, which would come every other week to clean her apartment at all, and she didn't need me anymore. It wasn't much, but it definetely would have helped me getting this damned pyramid before christmas. Needless to say, I'm not longer on speaking terms with my neighbor because she feels I somehow wronged her, and I'm still pissed that she sort of fired me without any warning. By the way, her cleaning lady shows up once the month not every other week. So ...
Anyway, at the start of December I was sure I never would get the money together and i feared the pyramid would be sold before I had the chance to get it. Then I got a call from one of the managers of the Christmas market. They are running three different "shops", and they just lost the woman who worked at the children's bakery. somehow he remembered me and that I had told him years ago that I would kill for the chance to come back to the Christmas Market. So I was asked if I wanted the job at the bakery - Hell yes I wanted! I worked my butt off the next three weeks, helping the kids baking cookies for christmas. And while this is a free offer, so the parents can use the time to get the presents for the kids or just have a little time for themselves during stressing December, some of these parents gave tips - money I could take without further question.
Long story short, I collected the tips and finally got together 60 Euros. Still not enough, and as I will get my salary for the work at the bakery next year, I still was crushed. But I thought I could try. The pyramid still was in the window, and maybe I could somehow make a deal with the owner. So I went to shop on Wednesday, and I told him my story, everything about my history with this pyramid and how deeply I loved it when I was a kid. You wanna know what he said to me?
Every day he had costumers asking for this pyramid, offering him a lot more money than he had told me. And while he wouldn't have any gain of it, he would sell it to me for 60 Euros, because of what I had told him and that he had seen me, every day on my way to work I came across the shop, every day I stood there for some minutes, staring at the pyramid, and he had seen how desperate I sometimes looked. It's Christmas, he said to me, and he knew how much this meant to me. So he sold the pyramid to me for 60 Euros instead of 100.
Well, that's the best Christmas-present I EVER got, you know? It took me more than thirty years but I finally got the pyramid I always wanted, it's a little burned, and I will have some work to do with it in the New Year, but I have it, and I felt again like and eight year old girl last night when I lit up the candles and saw it running.
And with that, I wish you a Merry Christmas, and I hope for all you that you will get your heart's desire for Christmas, as I finally got mine.
Wanna see the pyramid? Next some pictures (sorry for the quality):
(pics are thumbnails, click on them and they will get bigger)
1. Finally reunited, the brass pyramid and the two-story high
2-4. Carved figures on the lower level of the pyramid.