“I remember thinking, at the time, that I was going to try leaving the tree up,” she said. “I also thought about getting my snowman collection out for January’s theme.”
One year, Butler said she did pack the tree up and put it away, but missed it so much that she put it back up and hasn’t taken the tree down ever since.
Originally, the tree was in a corner of her living room making it hardly noticeable to anyone walking or driving by the house.
“I moved it in front of the window one year and it’s been there for a few years now.”
Jeanne Rivira, who works at Cut Above, also helps Butler around her house. On one of those days, Rivira noticed seasonal decorations in a box that weren’t put on the tree yet.
“When I came back from running errands, Jeanne had put all the decorations on the tree for me,” she said. “Sometimes I think Jeanne enjoys decorating more than I do.”
Now that school is back in session, Butler’s tree has a back-to-school theme, complete with lights, more than 100 red apple ornaments, crayons, water colors, markers and more.
Even the angel on the top of the tree is holding an apple.
With fall just around the corner, Butler and Rivira are busy getting ready for a tree change from pencils and crayons to sunflowers, pumpkins, goblins and other decorations appropriate for harvest, Halloween and Thanksgiving.
Her enthusiasm for decorating didn’t stop with the Christmas tree all year round theme either.
Her home has a variety of settings that gives her lots of reasons to smile.
Just off the kitchen, she and Rivira created a farm theme with jars, braided rugs and other items that remind her of her early years living in the country.
She also has a sunflower theme, an Iowa corn display and many tall, thin and normal-sized snowmen.
Her creativity was probably a major influence in why her career choice was teaching, which she did for 38 years.
While the elementary school was being built in Hillsboro, Butler said, she taught her first two years at Suncrest, a country school in Lehigh.
Once the school was complete, she continued teaching third grade.
Butler said she has always tried to keep a positive attitude; that was put to the test in 2003 when she discovered she had cancer.
As devastating as it was, she managed to get through it and in the spring, she returned to school. Although she never returned to the classroom on a full-time basis, she still enjoyed substitute teaching and working in the library until her retirement in May 2006.
Butler enjoyed her students and some even come back from time to time to see her.
In fact, she has a spot in her living room for her teaching career memories.
One of the parents made a wreath for her using crayons; other students have given her items that helped create her teaching corner.