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Thursday, Dec. 8, 2005 04:40 pm

Shaping trash into treasure

Oak Terrace resident makes merry with discarded jewelry

Dick Oglesby
One person’s trash is another’s treasure, and Dick Oglesby, 76, has taken the old saying to heart by creating a holiday display consisting of old jewelry donated by the women of Oak Terrace Active Retirement Community, where he also lives. “In June, I asked the activities director to ask the ladies if they had any broken jewelry and earrings to make a wall-hanging Christmas tree,” Oglesby says. Sandwich bags and shoeboxes of jewelry began to accumulate. By the time Oglesby had finished collecting, he had amassed nearly 250 pieces, ranging from brooches to rosary charms. As beautiful jewelry came in, Oglesby says, he used his imagination to decide where each piece should go. Oglesby, who worked as a risk-management supervisor for Central Illinois Public Service Co. before retiring in 1990, spent two or three hours a day, a few days each week, for three months, designing and building the tree. Because he has arthritis in his fingers, the task wasn’t easy. He purchased the supplies, including a beautiful piece of green velvet, the most expensive he could find, for the backdrop. Oglesby then used an X-Acto blade to cut holes in the velvet for each light and laid out the jewelry in a pattern. His wife, Susie, also an Oak Terrace residence, offered her advice along the way.  “I think it’s beautiful,” says Lorrie Eden, activities director for Oak Terrace, of Oglesby’s tree. “He put a lot of time, work and effort into it. To me it’s a gift of love to the residents from him because he took their old jewelry and made something beautiful out of it.”
Oglesby has two trees in the works for his children, and a finished piece — his first tree, graced with family mementos — is displayed in his apartment at Oak Terrace.
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