In winters past, Rudelle Falkenburg’s Storybook School was a regular Santa’s workshop of handmade ornaments. Many families still lovingly unpack these decorations each year, and, with them, sweet memories.
“We cherish all the special things Liam made in the Rudelle days,” said Chris Kelley of Wellfleet. Though her son, Liam, is all grown up, recollections of his preschool days come out with particular intensity when the ornaments go on the tree.
“Preschool at Rudelle’s was magical,” said Jennifer Subrin of Wellfleet, whose daughter, Niev, attended in 2011. The school opened in 1977 and, even though it closed in 2013 when Rudelle and her husband, Warren, retired, you wouldn’t know it from a visit to their Truro home. The dollhouses they built and decorated still line the walls, and the place looks like a child’s dream come true. —K.C. Myers
Brittany Souza, who lives in Truro and helps run Bayberry Gardens, made this in 1990. (Photo Brittany Souza). Her sister Isabel Souza made her ornament in 2001. She is now a ceramic artist living in Truro. (Photo Isabel Souza)
Molly Simonian-Pechukas created her ornament in 1997.
Her brother, Crash, made his own in 1999. (Photos Sarah Pechukas)
This ornament was made by Cassandra Laurent in 1999. Now 25, she recently opened a women’s clothing store in Ludlow, Vt., with plans to open another one, to be called “3 Graces,” in Provincetown in March. (Photo Cassandra Laurent)
Liam Carson made his ornament in 2001. He still lives in Wellfleet and works in the trades. (Photo Chris Kelley)
Emily Szep created this beach-inspired ornament in 2011. (Photo Amy Szep)
Niev Witnauer, top left, made this in 2011. She is now in eighth grade at Nauset Regional Middle School and is an occasional contributor to the Independent. (Photo Dennis Witnauer)
Violet (bottom middle) and Hazel (top right) Yingling with their class in 2013, the Storybook School’s final year. Violet, now at Nauset Regional Middle School, is the only girl on her Pee Wee 1 hockey team. Hazel is at Wellfleet Elementary School, and it’s her first season playing goalie for the two squirt hockey teams. (Photo Guillermo Yingling)