Silver Bells

Stephanie Vallez · Wednesday, December 6, 2017
Kelly Morrison and her crew of festive holiday helpers have done it again! The yearly window display at the Wuestenberg Agency is a sign of the season, and this year is no exception.

The theme is bells, and the window is filled with bells of all kinds. Most of the bells belong to Kelly Morrison’s sister, Nancy Schaapveld.

“I have always loved bells,” Nancy said. “I started collecting bells when I got married and now have two china hutches full of bells.”

Nancy’s special fondness for bells goes back to her childhood Christmas memories, when the family had bells on the doorknob. She fondly remembers watching “It’s A Wonderful Life” and the moment she learned what happens every time a bell rings.

Morrison worked hard to get this project going. In order to be ready for the Holiday Open House on Sunday, Nov. 19, she had to begin late Friday night.

“Friday night we decided to go out for supper, so I probably started about 10 o’clock at night,” she said. She worked late into the night and then spent most of Saturday in the window as well.

She finished up a few little details Sunday morning and was ready before the Holiday Open House.

“It went really fast,” Kelly said about the work this year, “this one was the fastest one.”

The large window at the Wuestenberg Agency has been home to a holiday display for decades. It all started at their previous location a block away, where the local florists, Arlene and Derwood Keith, provided a large display each year.

“Those were a big hit with the community and many came to the office to see the new feature of the year,” said Jan Fulwider of the Wuestenberg Agency.

For many years, they participated in the Holiday Open House, but eventually decided to change the way they participated.

“We were participating in the annual holiday open houses,” said Fulwider, “but felt as though the original purpose of the open house was being overshadowed by many of the service businesses hosting holiday shoppers, like we were doing, when the true purpose was to allow our retail merchants in the community to get a chance to show their wares and make sales on this particular day.

“To help with that endeavor we decided to not host an open house during the holiday open house day but rather to make a display in the front window for all to enjoy the entire Christmas season,” she said.

The window has displayed plenty of different themes over the years. Kelly’s favorite was her mother’s collection of angels. Jan Fulwider fondly recalls the year there was a train set in the window, and Bob Fulwider’s collection of antique toys.

The window has been the holiday home to many delicate and fragile items with plenty of sentimental value. This year’s bells are certainly as breakable as they are beautiful.

“I knew they were my sister’s,” Morrison said, “and I told her not to give me her best. Nothing broke.”

“I don’t remember anything ever breaking,” said Fulwider, “Ever.”

The display was a community effort. As Morrison began to ask around, other bells were offered.

“I don’t publicize it to everybody because I don’t want the whole town to know yet,” Kelly said. “It’s kind of a hidden surprise.”

There are brass bells from Chuck and Louise Newcomb and bells from Clarissa Hagmier Martin and her father, John Hagmier, former City Manager. Lou Ann and Dave Bjork donated their bells to the display as well as Dave and Bertie Baker.

Morrison likes to tie it all up in a neat little holiday package, so she asked students friends to help her wrap boxes in blue paper and found old red bells at Slightly Vintage

She painted the words to the holiday song “Silver Bells” as shiny backgrounds to the bell display. The white lights give the window a warmth that spreads holiday cheer all through the downtown.

Thanks to everyone who shared their time or their collectibles and a special thanks to Kelly Morrison for another inspiring window display!
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