The Closing of the Year.


“If I cannot bring you comfort
Then at least I bring you hope
For nothing is more precious
Than the time we have…(sic)”

(Wendy &Lisa, TOYS 1992)

This is the main theme to a movie called TOYS which came out in 1992, starring Robin Williams. The movie did not do well and has faded from the small audiences it initially reached. The movie is one of my favorite movies of all time. The movie was critically underrated and had a terrible marketing campaign. TOYS is a beautiful movie that captures the essence of joy and hope that can only be found in the sense of childlike innocence.

But it is the main Theme that brings it into this blog. We are at the closing of the Year. Whenever I come to this time of the year, I sing the opening lyrics of the song and know that Christmas has come. I get this sense that hope has returned to reality and that the innocence of my childhood can take hold again. I find myself, at 49, hoping that a good old-fashioned toy will be left for me under the Christmas Tree this year. That Santa is still a Jolly old Saint Nick and despite all the movies and TV shows that say otherwise, he still remembers that I have been nice.

At the Museum, Christmas comes in the form of donations to the museum. The Museum Director dives into each box like a small girl discovering that Santa has left her a box of goodies on Christmas Morning. For us, “elves,” we wait until she has gone through everything and then we must file and place each of the treasures in their appropriate new homes. There is this moment of discovery that will be shared as the young man discovers his mother was in the band of her High School that makes all that work, we have down over the year worthwhile. Seeing the joy in connection as two strangers connect here only to discover their fathers, we on the same basketball team as they both gaze at their dads’ team pictures. Their laughter and delight fill the museum.

This is the kind of Christmas that we have in the museum. With each year we forge new connections, find memories once thought to be lost, even as we bid farewell to old friends and preserve another story into history. We come together here, a community for everyone who was ever a kid in Knox County Schools or Knoxville City Schools, for everyone who had a parent or uncle or aunt, who had a grandparent, who went to these schools. For anyone who comes to discover the connection that they have here in our little museum where History has found its home.

So, at the closing of the year…

“We all must learn from small misfortune
Count the blessings that are real
Let the bells ring out for Christmas
At the closing of the year
Let the bells ring out for Christmas
At the closing of the year “

(Wendy & Lisa, TOYS)