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by Julie Salamon

Pub Date: Oct. 1st, 1996
ISBN: 0-679-45253-2
Publisher: Random House

 The Christmas Tree ($12.95; Lg. Prt. $17.50; Oct. 1996; 128 pp.; 0-679-45253-2; Lg. Prt. 0-679-44253-7): How does a Christmas tree get into Rockefeller Center? Differently each year. In this tale, based on last year's true story of nuns living in a New Jersey convent, Salamon (The Net of Dreams, p. 52) relates how the Rockefeller Center gardener responsible for the annual search flies over New Jersey looking for a Norwegian Spruce that would be ideal for the next Christmas. Having spotted what he believes to be an ideal candidate, he drives out to the site, a convent. He finds Sister Anthony, who has watched this spruce grow up, herself having been there since it was a sapling. The convent was once a millionaire's estate, and later was given to the Catholic Church as a rest home for nuns who cared for poor children around the world. At first Sister Anthony is unwilling to part with the tree. She tells the gardener her story, how she was orphaned as a child, how she grew up and grew old at the convent. She has regarded the tree with special affection ever since she first arrived. When she at last relinquishes it, we follow the tree's death, its trip to Rockefeller Center, and the elaborate process of decorating it. Then Sister Anthony comes to the lighting ceremony and says farewell. Tearful, if you so lean.