Loretta Gorlitz's Christmas village 2008.12.24

Written by David Green.

By DAVID GREEN

After 15 years, Loretta Gorlitz finally said, “Enough!”

That might have come as a surprise to friends who have given her miniature buildings over the years for her Christmas village display.loretta.gorlitz.jpg

But even Loretta knows when it’s time to stop. After all, she’s really run out of room.

“It’s getting too crowded,” she said, and pointed out the overflow area on the top of her entertainment center.

In 1993, Loretta started off with only three buildings that she placed under her Christmas tree. That was only the beginning.

She’s acquired more and more through the years and the village kept growing.

“People have given me most of them,” she said. “I can pretty much tell you who gave me what.”

She buys some of the small figurines for her display—skaters, sledders, people walking through town, etc.—but the buildings are rather costly. She recalls when they sold for less than $10. Now the price is closer to $20.

Bookstore, churches, beauty salon, hardware store, florist, grocery—a wide array of businesses are in her display—and among the dozens of buildings, only two are alike.

Loretta’s display not only grows every year, it also changes with each Christmas. A few years ago, she created a mountain scene in one corner. Now she has mountains everywhere, in the background.

“The wall was getting marred up,” she said, so the new paint job included scenery for the display.

The creation now takes over a full half of her long living room. That means the organ moves into the kitchen, the dining room table is taken apart, the chairs are placed in the entryway, and a sofa is doubled up next to another one along the same wall.

“It took me three weeks to put it together this year,” Loretta said.

She uses three 8 by 10 sheets of luan placed end to end, with supports underneath plus a milk crate in the center of each for added support when she has to lean over to place buildings.

Most of the buildings are lighted by one of three power cords, but 10 of the fixtures are battery powered.

She created a railroad scene, a farm scene, ice ponds and sledding hills. There are rows of houses and clusters of stores.

The buildings were manufactured by more than a dozen different companies. A few of them were kits and hand-painted by the buyer before passing it on to Loretta.

It’s surprising that neither of her two cats prowl the streets of the village like giants from a science fiction movie. The younger of the two used to enjoy sleeping on the cotton batting snow, but Loretta succeeded in convincing her that it wasn’t allowed. Now they both spend a lot of time sleeping underneath.

It’s a lot of work to assemble a new village every year, but all it takes is a visit from children to remind Loretta that it’s all worth the time.

“After church, some young children came to see it,” she said. “They got down on their hands and knees and looked in all the windows. They were so thrilled.”

She may be done collecting, but that doesn’t mean there won’t be a new display a year from now.

She has a simple answer to a question about whether she’ll do it again next year.

“Of course!”

  • Girls.on.ride
    NADIYA YORK and Aniston Valentine take a spin on the Casino, one of the rides offered at Wakefield Park during Morenci’s Town and Country Festival. This year’s festival remained dry but with plenty of heat during the three-day run. Additional photographs are inside this week’s Observer.
  • Front.softball
    Angela Davis (2) and teammate Allison VanBrandt break into a jig after Morenci's softball team won its third consecutive regional title.
  • Front.art.park
    ART PARK—A design created by Poggemeyer Design Group shows a “pocket art park” in the green space south of the State Line Observer building. The proposal includes a 12-foot sculpture based on a design created by Morenci sixth grade student Klara Wesley through a school and library collaboration. A wooden band shell is located at the back of the lot. The Observer wall would be covered with a synthetic stucco material. City council members are considering ways to fund the estimated $125,000 project and perhaps tackling construction one step at a time.
  • Front.train
    WRECKAGE—Morenci Fire Department member Taylor Schisler walks past the smoking wreckage of a semi-truck tractor on the north side of the Norfolk and Southern Railroad tracks on Ranger Highway. The truck trailer was on the south side of the tracks
  • Funcolor
    LEONIE LEAHY was one of three local hair stylists who volunteered time Friday at the Morenci PTO Fun Night. Her customer, Aubrey Sandusky, looks up at her mother while her hair takes on a perfect match to her outfit. Leahy said she had a great time at the event—nothing but happy clients.
  • KayseInField
    IN THE FIELD—2004 Morenci graduate Kayse Onweller works in a test plot of wheat in Texas. She’s part of Bayer CropScience’s North American wheat breeding program based in Nebraska, where she completed post-graduate work in plant breeding and genetics.
  • Front.winner
    REFEREE Camden Miller raises the hand of Morenci Jr. Dawgs wrestler Ryder Ryan as his opponent leaves the mat in disappointment. Morenci’s youth wrestling program served as host for a tournament Saturday morning to raise money for the club. Additional photos are on the back page.

Weekly newspaper serving SE Michigan and NW Ohio - State Line Observer ©2006-2016