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We lost our brother Steve in May of 2003 to cancer. In March of 2004, we lost our dear sister Ellie to cancer as well. My brother Brian stayed in Chicago after her death to ready her home for sale. While he was cleaning the basement he came across a small pulley system which sparked an idea for the Christmas light display. He called me and told me he wanted to run a cable over the pond and create a giant heart, as a memorial to our sister and brother, as well as our father who had died in 2001.

Meanwhile, I put in another 4, 20 amp circuits to allow for additional light expansion. I also prepared ahead by determining how to run the circuits outside and creating an excel file with all of the details, including a detailed map which covered all 1.7acreas of our property.

Brian arrived well in advance of Thanksgiving and spent about a week mounting the pulley system to two trees about 110 feet apart, in front of the pond, and creating the giant heart. When all was said and done, our light display came in at 34,962 lights and we had a 30-40 foot heart hanging in front of the pond, with the names of ‘Dad’, ‘Steve’, and ‘Ellie’.

Once the Holidays were over, I decided to leave the heart up until Valentine’s Day. We turned the heart back on for that week only. The local newspaper, The Poughkeesie Journal, learned of it and ended up interviewing me and publishing an article about the heart. You can read the article below.