Ted Althof. . . of Tarentum PA. . . a man I never met. An angel none the less.
It is strange to write about the loss of someone you never knew. . . but who impacted your life in ways you can only begin to sum up at the time of their passing.
When, just a few years ago, I realized that my path, my future, indeed my purpose might be tied so intrinsically to all that I experienced, dreamed and created in my childhood, I found it hard to speak of it. To share it with anyone through any method other than my creations. . . and that, from a safe distance.
We are all too often told we need to "grow up", become adults and leave behind the wonders of childhood. That we can't "live in the past" and that we should move on from those old days and memories.
But i have believed for some time that ALL that we are is written in those early pages and all that time we spend trying to create the adult us is wasted most of the time when it does not factor in those early and pure pieces of ourselves.
But even I, who have clung to that childhood magic inside for so many years, have struggled with the notion it could be the basis of my purpose and pathways in life.
I do not remember how it was I came across the article that completely blew that out of the water for me but, upon first reading of Ted Althof, a collector of Christmas Putz houses who lived in Tarentum PA, not far from where I grew up, I found an angel in the fold.
To read of his love for the past, for his childhood memories and, above all else, the magic of Christmas, the way he had never lost that spark in his life. . . it did more than inspire me, it cast me in a form that will now remain with me forever to my death.
I am saddened today to have learned that Ted passed on last month after a long battle with illness. I knew he was not well for some time as he had not been updating his incredible Christmas Putz site for some time now. . .
I won't go into all the ways this stranger touched my life but I will leave you with this quote of his that has been woven into my heart for the last two years and that keeps me believing, daily, that I have found my path through creating wonder and magic in my miniature and fairy tale works. . .
"The power that an object unseen in decades can have to transport us in
mind and spirit back to a specific period or moment of our lives -- to
unlock long-closed doors in the mansion of our memory -- is the true
value that it has." Ted Althof
Thank you Ted. . . you inspired the discovery, or rediscovery, of that magic in so many and many of us will carry it on for the rest of our days. . . just as you did in your life.
That original article can be found here: