(Copyright 1996. All rights reserved.)
from

December 23, 1996

A lovely vision

By Hila Yosafi
And Courtney Pendleton
Special to The Bristol Press

BRISTOL - After 20 years of
decorating her home for her
neighbors' enjoyment at Christmas,
Rose Lagace had another reason for
her holiday display this year.

She set it up in time for
Thanksgiving, rather than waiting
as usual for early December, to
ensure that terminally ill neighbor
Eugene Fields, one of its annual
admirers, would have the chance to
enjoy it one last time.

Lagace added a lighted tree to her
display, dedicated to Fields, and
placed it where it would be visible
from his bedroom window.

Soon after Fields' daughter brought
him home to see the display, and
the special tree, he died.

``We decorated to make the kids
happy, to make Mr. Fields happy.
Everything was done for him,'' said
Lagace.

``He saw his tree, he came home
just for it. That was our
Christmas,'' she said.

Lagace's house, at 25 First St.,
was decorated by Clarence St. Amant
with the help of Lagace and others.

With eight trees, lots of colored
lights, Mrs. Claus, assorted
Santas, a nativity scene, snowmen,
toy soldiers, candy canes, stars,
and music that makes the neighbors
dance, this holiday display is an
eye-catching sight.

Their work was chosen as the
overall winner of The Bristol Press
holiday decorating contest, judged
by a team of staff writers from The
Tattoo, the newspaper's teenage
page. The high school students work
under the direction of reporters
Jackie Majerus and Steve Collins.

Winning first place came as a
surprise for Lagace, who did not
know her home had been entered in
the second annual contest by a
friend.

Janice Simmons, the nominator, said
this was the first year she noticed
the display.

``It's nice to see decorating over
the holidays,'' said Simmons.

St. Amant, a Bristol resident for
31 years, is a carpenter by trade
and good with his hands.

A tree of lights, a wooden Santa,
and a manger are among the
decorations at the First Street
home made by St. Amant.

He said his interest in decorating
stems from his childhood. In the
fifth grade, while his classmates
were outside at recess, St. Amant
stayed indoors and painted
Christmas scenes on the windows.

Lagace's yard will stay decorated
each year for as long as St. Amant
is able to do it.

``I say I'll quit every year, but I
never do. As long as there's no
vandalism I'll keep decorating,''
said St. Amant.

The display will be up until New
Year's. The lights are turned on
from 4:30 to 10:30 p.m.

To find Lagace's house, head north
on Middle Street from the corner of
Broad Street and take the first
right. It's impossible to miss -
but be careful, the street is
small.

The contestants were limited to
those nominated by people who
donated toys for needy children,
which were delivered to the Bristol
Community Organization to pass out
recently.

Sadly, many wonderful displays
around town could not be considered
because nobody entered them.

Other winners:

BEST DISCO WINDOW - 24 Shingle Mill
Rd., a nice Martha Stewart design
enlivened by one funky window, with
the Christmas tree twinkling behind
it.

BEST GREENERY - 75 Poitras Rd. It
has plenty of big green wreaths
with red ribbons.

BEST 'BOOGIE DOWN' HOUSE - 145 Lake
Ave. This place was so wild that
some of the judges felt compelled
to leap from the car and bow to it.
Across the street, by the way, is
another pretty good boogie down
home.

BEST RELIGIOUS WINDOW - 127 Lake
Ave. A nativity scene in the
window, with a frosted glass angel.

MOST SPIRITED SERVICE STATION -
Karl's Mobil gas station at the
corner of Pine and Middle streets.
It has a swell star on its roof and
some great windows.

BEST GINGERBREAD HOUSE - 87
Lancaster Rd. Outlined in big
colored lights, with a train,
Santa, candy canes and candles.

MOST ELEGANT - 468 Stevens St. It's
hard to beat the waving, realistic
Santa and elf in the front yard,
standing beside two reindeer. There
are also plenty of white lights,
red bows and greenery.

BEST ROOF - 85 Blakeslee St. Santa
won't miss this one when he's
soaring over Bristol. The roof
spells out ``Hope'' in gigantic
letters beside a lighted cross.

BEST PORCH - 169 High St. A
terrific porch in traditional
style.

BEST DISCO PINWHEEL - 99 Curtiss
St. A great house with one
incredible snowflake on its side.
It changes color and shape.

BEST FLYING SANTA - 104 Curtiss St.
A nice house with a plastic Santa,
sleigh and reindeer whizzing across
its side yard.

BEST FEEBLE EFFORT - Biscayne West
grill on West Street. Though we
love its food, and peer into it on
the way to school each morning from
the bus windows, the pitiful
decorations just can't pass without
notice. It has but one strand of
lights across the bottom of its
window, with only one half of the
bulbs blinking.

BEST FLASHY RAILINGS - 291 Park St.
Great blinking lights on the front
railings, and some interesting
bushes.


BEST BACKYARD - 191 Gridley St. Get
out of your car and have a look.
It's charming.

BEST USE OF FRUIT - 45 Melinda
Lane. Nice traditional effort, but
we particularly liked the use of
fruit in the decorations.

BEST BUSINESS DISPLAY - 398
Riverside Ave. B & D Auto has a
towering Christmas tree of lights
on its roof. Swell.

We also want to mention a couple of
displays that should have been
entered but weren't.

At 25 Abbey Road sits a glowing
home that can probably be seen from
Mars. At 15 Bentley Road is
Bristol's biggest snowman that's
worth a look. Frosty would be
jealous.

Drive safely and Merry Christmas!

Contributing to this story were
Tattoo staff members Brian LaRue,
Amanda Lehmert, Danielle Ouimet and
Jackie Vallee.


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