When I was a wee lass growing up on the Goff Estate, we decorated our Christmas tree with store-bought baubles as well as ornaments made by my mom and older siblings. Unfortunately, most of these hand-crafted ornaments fell victim to the 1984 flood that also ruined the greatest Christmas present ever aka the Barbie Dreamhouse.

My mom would occasionally mention the ornaments, saying she would love to find kits so that she could replace her lost ornaments. The loss of one ornament in particular bothered me the most. According to my memory, the ornament featured figures frolicking on a snowy scene set against a three-sided mirror.

We had no way of knowing in 1984 that an invention called the Internets would change our lives or that in 1995 an Iranian-American would create a website, eBay, that would allow people to buy used stuff from strangers.

I made my first eBay purchase in 2001. So, I’m guessing it was around that time that I started searching for the ornaments. I didn’t search every day or even every week or every month. But every now and then, working from my scattered memory, I’d look for those ornaments, especially the one featuring a snowy scene set against a three-sided mirror.

And for 19 years, I had no luck.

Until this September.

Of course, when I saw the price of the ornament featuring what I realized was a snowy scene set against three separate square mirrors, my first instinct was to close the browser. But you don’t walk away after 19, no make that 36, years. I sent a picture of the ornament to my sisters and when they confirmed that my memory was correct, I placed the order.

When the package arrived, I took it to my mom’s and we opened it together. The eBay seller had advised that the glue would be dried, so I had already purchased a tube of craft glue.

It quickly became apparent that we would also need to replace those oft-mentioned mirrors. Indeed, it was actually cheaper for me to order 100 square mirrors than to buy a can of spray paint to repair the other mirrors. By the way, the mirrors came packaged like small sleeves of crackers. As I figured they’d be tossed into a Ziploc bag and then thrown into an envelope, that came as a surprise.

With the excessive amount of mirrors in hand, Mom and I set to work on the ornament. We don’t share the same work style or speed, but we managed to complete the task without engaging in too many squabbles and without stabbing each other. I think the fumes from the glue helped keep us somewhat mellow.

ornamentOur efforts were so successful — and we have so many, many mirrors — that we’re planning to purchase additional materials and make more ornaments. As for our first creation, it has a prominent spot on her Christmas tree, surrounded by store-bought baubles and other hand-crafted ornaments.

This post originally appeared in the Appalachian News-Express.