By Debra Minor Wilson
Times West Virginian
Midge Linscott loves to decorate for the holidays.
All holidays. Any holiday.
She always has.
So at the beginning of October, she got all her Halloween decorations out — the witches with the glowing eyes, the Frankenstein that sings “Monster Mash,” and all the little ghosts and goblins you can think of.
And don’t forget Iggy, the skeleton imprisoned in a cage. Wearing black-and-white striped prisoner garb, he screams and yells (“Didn’t your mom ever teach you it’s not polite to stare?”), and even tries to break free of the cage, menacing eyes glowing bright blood red.
But there’s nothing really scary and it’s all in good fun.
She’s decorated for the holidays for as long as she can remember, from when her sons were little to now. It’s a tradition she happily carries on each year.
“We used to take the kids. We didn’t buy costumes for them. I’d ask them what they wanted to be. Want to be a hobo? I’d dress them like a hobo. Carnival worker? I’ll take care of it. My husband would say, ‘You be in charge of the boys.’
“All I had was boys,” she said with a laugh. She even found a costume for the 1-year-old: She put a mustache on him and little hat.
“And that’s how he went trick-or-treating.”
Christmas was big in her house, too. Artificial trees? Are you kidding?
She did her best to make sure her boys had good Christmases, she said.
She was born in Mannington and lived out of state several times. But they moved back to Fairmont and she attended Miller School.
Now she lives in an apartment complex and makes it her job to decorate the hallways for whatever holiday it happens to be.
If it’s on the calendar, she’s got decorations for it.
When she first moved in, she asked what they did for the holidays.
Nothing? Well, she’d take care of that. And she has.
“I think I do a pretty good job,” she said. “I enjoy doing it. It gives me a great feeling to know I’m doing something everyone else is going to see and talk about it. I love to decorate.
“I did the multipurpose room for our Halloween party coming up.”
Fall and Halloween share some decorations, she said. Orange leaves, pumpkins, seasonal things like that. But when it gets closer to trick-or-treat time, down go the falling leaves and up go the witches and black cats and the otherworldly like.
But she doesn’t do spiders. There was a large spider (only a fake decoration, fortunately) that nearly gave her a heart attack, she said. Remember: Nothing too scary for her.
Other than that, “I love to decorate with everything, even bugs. I like characters that are funny. The ones that make noises and their eyes light up, like Iggy.”
She adds to her decoration treasures when the holiday is over, when things are on sale.
She’s got a holiday symphony of little animal figurines that sing Christmas carols, like the mouse that warbles “We Wish You a Merry Christmas.”
“I push each one separately and get them all singing,” she said with a smile. “It’s a whole chorus there.
“These little things ... anything that makes you smile, that brings a smile to your face, no matter how bad your day is. You see something like that and it all goes away. That makes it all worthwhile.
“It’s no trouble for me.”
She also bakes theme cakes for birthdays, weddings and other special events, she said. Just another way to put a smile on your face. She likes to bake cakes and other goodies for friends and neighbors.
“It makes me feel real good. It keeps me happy. It comes out of my heart, from here.”
She made a surprise birthday cake for a friend.
“He had tears in his eyes. ‘You don’t have to do that,’ he said. But yeah, I did. I do a lot of things for my friends and it doesn’t cost anything, you know. It costs me money to do it, but it doesn’t cost anything to give it away.
“You give people a part of you as a gift.
“And that becomes a tradition. Whatever I do comes back around and you do the same thing for somebody else.”
Her boys are grown now, but her family is always within reach. Old photos of relatives line the wall and shelves. It’s good to have family close by.
Hallways, bulletin boards, windows, walls, doors — she loves to spread holiday cheer wherever she can. Her Thanksgiving decorations are waiting in a nearby plastic tote to come out, with all that red and green next in line for Christmas.
“Christmas is a special holiday,” she said her mother always told her. “And it doesn’t have anything to do with gifts. It’s the birth of Christ. And you think of that when Christmas comes. He didn’t have anything for Christmas.”
Email Debra Minor Wilson at firstname.lastname@example.org.