Wilton teacher Maria Corti is officially a star, as far as her fifth graders are concerned, now that her 76-foot-tall Norway spruce has been chosen as Rockefeller Center’s Christmas tree.
“I’m a celebrity. They see me in a new light suddenly. They’re very excited and proud – as they should be,” says Corti, who has been interviewed by local and national newspapers and TV stations.
“I’m very proud of this as well. The true essence of Christmas is sharing and good will, and that’s what I try to encourage. You feel it when you go down to Rockefeller Center. People there who recognized me thanked me. That tree gives a lot of joy to people.”
Corti has been down to see the tree many times, and watches for it every morning and evening on TV, since it was trucked away from her Easton home November 11.
The selection of her tree had to be confidential, but as Corti didn’t want her friends and family to miss the big event, she told them she was having an open house. She told them not to bring any food or presents, just to dress warmly and come. It left lots of people guessing.
They weren’t guessing for long, however. They arrived to see many people and trucks, and even a crane, all busy wrapping, cutting, and preparing to transport the tree. The tree was hydrated so branches would bend more easily, every branch was wrapped, and the entire tree was covered with an ace bandage and swaddled so it could be taken away.
Corti has been in her new home for less than a year. Shortly after moving, she lost her beloved horse, which had been a big part of her life for many years.
“In a way, this tree and the activity surrounding it has been a nice distraction,” said Corti. “It’s a beautiful tree and it has weathered many a storm. It’s something to be shared.”
The tree was healthy, but approaching the end of its life, and it was dangerously close to Corti’s house. Corti contacted Rockefeller Center on a whim and was overwhelmed when her tree was chosen from the many offered.
After the tree is removed from Rockefeller Center, its lumber will be donated to Habitat for Humanity.
For anyone interested in seeing the tree, it will be lit daily from 5:30 A.M.-11:30 P.M.; all day on Christmas (24 hours); and from 5:30 A.M.-9 P.M. on New Year’s Eve. It will be on display until January 7th.