A Christmas wish 70 years in the making

Published 10:41 pm Saturday, December 19, 2009

Even as a little girl, Ironton resident Betty Newman knew she had a favorite part of Christmas decorations: Reindeer, specifically reindeer on the roof just like in the classic Christmas stories.

Nearly seven decades later, Newman’s Christmas wish came true.

“All my life I wanted reindeer on my roof and I had to wait until I was almost 70 to get them,” she said with a laugh.

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This isn’t the only holiday decorations that adorn this Proctorville native and longtime Fourth Street Ironton resident’s home.

She has snowmen and women carefully placed outside her window so she can see them. She has lights, red bows and wreaths and much more.

But beautifying her home isn’t anything new to Newman.

In fact, in some ways, it has saved her life — literally.

Newman has battled several types of cancer, the worst of which has been skin and lung, for more than a decade.

Every victory over the ravaging disease was followed by another setback, every success coming just before another surgery or another round of treatment.

And through it all, Newman’s yard and her home have been her sanctuary.

From her pride in her tulips to her mums that are second to none, Newman still works hard to make her yard stand out even amongst all the other fine-trimmed lawns in the city.

But, so far one prize has eluded her: Ironton in Bloom’s coveted Yard of the Month honor.

And even though winter may just be arriving, Newman is already thinking about how she can make her yard shine.

“I live for my yard,” she said.

It isn’t about ego or personal satisfaction or showing off for the neighbors. No, for Betty this is just one more way to keep fighting the disease that wrecks her body.

Betty Newman achieved one dream when those reindeer landed on her roof. I wouldn’t bet against the fact that she will be hanging that Yard of the Month sign in her garden next year.

Michael Caldwell is publisher of The Tribune. To reach him, call (740) 532-1445 ext. 24 or by e-mail at mike.caldwell@irontontribune.com.