A Bittersweet Gift: The Dickens’ Village


A photo of my mother-in-law and her late husband is perched right above the village she created


The village all lit up

Last year I inherited my mother-in-law’s rather extensive “Dickens’ Village”. She built it over several decades, and some pieces need repair (like the gorgeous church, which isn’t pictured here because the steeple is broken). But it’s a beautiful collection, and my girls, when they were little, always used to love to go to grandma’s to look at it all lit up during the holidays.

It’s a little bittersweet now, to have it in our home. Her home was sold about a year ago because she suffers from Alzheimer’s. She lived with us for a summer and spent time with each of my husband’s siblings, but as she got worse, we had no choice for her own safety and well being but to move her to a constant care facility about 30 minutes from us. As of now, her disease has progressed to the point that although she usually recognizes that she knows us, when we visit, she doesn’t always know why or how, or who we are.

The village is one of the tangible reminders of what once was in our little family and can never be again.

So we will keep the village safe and put it out with love each year, in memory of all the happy times we spent together. Someday, I will pass it down to my girls, and they can keep the memories – and the remembered love – of their Grandma McCall alive and well.