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Mason Public Library revives Memory Tree tradition 

  • Staff photo by Ashley Saari—

Monadnock Ledger-Transcript
Published: 12/2/2019 8:54:18 PM

By Christmas, Judy Forty hopes to see a string of white lights across the library’s “Memory Tree” – a tradition once nearly forgotten itself.

This weekend, before the town gathers for its annual Christmas Tree lighting on the common, they will also light a second tree – this one located at the lamp post at the library entrance. This second tree will begin its life looking similar to its neighbor, with a string of multi-colored lights. But its meaning is different.

Townspeople can get a white light and ribbon from the library during its open hours, and for a donation, write a message of remembrance or hope on their ribbon, and switch out one of the multi-colored lights for a white one.

While its the first time in 15 years or more that the library has had a Memory Tree, it’s actually a revival of an old tradition, Forty said.

In 1999, Forty was a library trustee, and suggested the library put up a Memory Tree, after seeing the tradition in other towns. That year, the tree was dedicated by the Rev. Robert C. Robb.

Forty said that first year, she remembers most people got a light to remember love ones who passed away. Elizabeth “Twig” Orton Jones, Mason author and local historian, bucked the trend by writing on her ribbon a wish for world peace.

That’s what the tree is meant for, Forty said. Messages don’t have to be for those who have passed – it can be for family and friends you can’t be with during the holidays, messages of thanksgiving for your blessings, or hopes and dreams.

“It could simply be, ‘I love the snow,’” Forty said. “The whole point is that you get to put down a message, whatever that message might be, and put down your feelings.”

After the first Memory Tree in 1999, the library kept up the tradition for a few years, but it fell to the wayside. This year, Forty approached the Library Trustees and the Select Board about reviving it.

“It’s a lovely tradition,” Forty said. She plans to put on several ribbons herself, she said, with the first being thanks for her family. 

In past years, donations for the lights have gone to support library programming. 

The lighting of the Mason Library’s Memory Tree is scheduled for Saturday, Dec. 7, from 3:30 to 4:30 p.m. There will be crafts and stories, and Mason resident and storyteller Lee Siegmann will perform “A visit from St. Nicholas” at 4:30 p.m.

The town’s annual Christmas Tree lighting and visit from Santa Claus is scheduled for the same day, at the town common gazebo outside the town offices at 5 p.m., sponsored by the Recreation Committee.


Ashley Saari can be reached at 924-7172 ext. 244 or She’s on Twitter @AshleySaariMLT.


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