The popsicle stick creche.

by Taddy Dawson

A long time ago for some and what seems like just yesterday for others, a young couple moved to the Chestnut Hill area. He was an architect and she, driven by unbounded creativity and faith, opened a needlepoint shop on the Avenue. They had two children and, as a family, became deeply involved in our community.

One day a routine test came back with negative results. She had advanced cancer.  Her response to this was, “I want to live!” Her urgency was so great that the doctors agreed to try.

It was Christmas Eve and she was in the hospital undergoing tests and waiting for the surgery that might save her life. Her husband asked her what she wanted from home.

“I want a crèche,” she said.

They didn’t own one and buying one was not an option as the staff had said that nothing valuable was allowed.

On the way home he, pondering the problem, stopped at a Wawa and bought a box of popsicles for his children.

“Eat them as fast as possible,” he said, “and give me the sticks.” 

He then sat down with an X-ACTO knife, cutting board and bottle of white glue. While the children played and ate popsicles, he cut the sticks into bits, glued them together and made her a crèche.

She underwent the surgery and, in spite of being told she had a small chance of surviving more than a few months, she lived. She lived for more than30 years.

Taddy Dawson lives and writes in Chestnut Hill

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