The City of Portland’s 2020 Christmas tree was  selected and erected at Monument Square.  I thought that you might be interested in a little bit of background on the tree.  You see, it was taken from my childhood home.

My father built the home for my mother in 1961 and they lived there until he passed away in 2007. During those years, my Mom had a habit of digging up pretty saplings she saw along the side of the road when they were taking their Sunday afternoon rides through Maine. She would return home and plant them in the yard, hoping that someday one of them might be selected to be the Christmas tree for Portland.

When my Dad passed away, she actually called and offered the larger of the two trees that stood on the front lawn to the city. She was told that they appreciated the offer but they had a backlog of trees that people had offered.  Sad to hear that, thinking that it would have been a nice tribute to my Dad, she had no choice but to have the tree cut down.

She moved to Park Danforth in 2008 where she lived happily until this past March. Seeing that the building would soon be closed off to visitors due to COVID-19, I brought her to live with me in Scarborough. She had been on Hospice care at home for 4 months at that time. Within a couple of weeks, she was bedridden and she and I (and my miniature labradoodle who wouldn’t leave her side) passed the time watching movies and reminiscing. She commented about what a shame it was that the city couldn’t have taken her tree. It would have given such joy to so many. Well, after three months of fighting, she passed away on June 4, just five days before her 95th birthday.

Imagine my joy when I learned that her tree was selected to be this year’s Christmas tree for the City of Portland! What a wonderful tribute to her. Her wish is coming true – her tree will bring joy to thousands of people just a few months after her death.

I drove by the house today to take a picture of the tree with its red ribbon, and I was there when it was cut down.  When it is lit in Monument Square, I was standing on the periphery smiling through my mask.

This one’s for you, Mom!

Nancy Arey Cohen

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