A Shreveport woman finds solace in a Christmas collection amassed over the past 3 decades, through the loss of her son in an unsolved murder and a fire that damaged her home.
For the last 30 plus years, Pauline Wallace's decorations outside and inside her south Shreveport home have been growing and growing. This year, she's sporting 6 Christmas trees, some even in bedrooms and bathrooms. And her winter villages continue to grow like a town annexing more land for development.
"I enjoy it. It's fun," says Pauline.
Pauline begins pulling down the decorations in August, as soon as the attic cools down enough for her to climb the ladder.
"Over here is my trees and angels," points Pauline as she walks around her incredibly large attic, packed with boxes and boxes full of Christmas decorations.
It's amazing she still has so much.
"I looked up and fire engulfed," raising her arms toward the ceiling.
In 2009, a fire damaged part of her home. But fire fighters were able to save her home, most of her decorations and her Christmas spirit.
Not a room or wall nor mantle or corner is spared. She has Christmas trees in bedrooms, two bathrooms and her sun room.
Her villages are packed with winter scenes including ice skaters, children playing and snowmen.
"My grandson works at a Lowe's in Tennessee so he said I have to have a Lowe's," says Pauline.
A little Lowe's building is accompanied by a number of churches, school buildings and even the Alamo.
A police station is also featured.
"Police came here with a chaplain on a Sunday afternoon," remembers Pauline, as her face quickly began showing the pain. She was recalling the day, November 15, 1980, when officers came to let her know her son Royal had been fatally shot in Dallas.
A stocking she made for Royal still hangs from her mantle.
"I made this stocking when he was in the first grade."
Royal's body was discovered by a trucker along I-20 near the Weatherford exit in Dallas. No arrest has ever been made.
"I don't think they ever tried. They related it to motorcycle gangs, drugs and stuff, " says Pauline.
Then it hit me. Something I don't think Pauline had even realized herself.
The over-the-top collecting and displaying of ornaments, wreaths, village homes, trees and yard decorations began shortly after police knocked on her door in 1980.
"I guess after that, my kids were married, my oldest one gone, then I - like you said - you get wrapped up in other things to take your mind off of things," admits Pauline.
I guess you can call it Pauline's Christmas blessing in disguise.
"It's something that doesn't ever go away. The loss."
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