A 145-Year-Old Family Tradition Continues This Christmas - Spokane, North Idaho News & Weather KHQ.com

A 145-Year-Old Family Tradition Continues This Christmas

In 1868, an ancestor of the Forman family, named David Linsley, received only one present for Christmas when he was six-years-old: a small brass top. That gift has now been passed down five generations. In 1868, an ancestor of the Forman family, named David Linsley, received only one present for Christmas when he was six-years-old: a small brass top. That gift has now been passed down five generations.
DEER PARK, Wash. -

This Christmas a family in Deer Park will carry on a tradition for the 145th year. In 1868, an ancestor of the Forman family, named David Linsley, received only one present for Christmas when he was six-years-old: a small brass top. That gift has now been passed down five generations.

"It's got a few holes in it, so it makes noise when it spins and it sits in this little rack here," said family member Dan Forman.

It is a small item made of brass.

"The top itself is hollow," Dan said.

To anyone else it is just an old toy, but to the Forman family, it is a connection to the past.

"Just the idea of that's the top we spun and the family's been spinning it now for a hundred years," said 89-year-old Robert Forman, the man who spins the top each Christmas for the family.

"We realized this is extraordinary," said Robert's daughter Lucy Jeanne.

Christmas 1868, the top was the only present Lucy's great grandfather received. He could not have possibly known it would still mean so much, so many generations later.

"You feel this sense of responsibility because this little six-year-old boy started it, you know, 145 years ago and you can't be the one to break it," Lucy said.

Break it, they will not. The family now plans their holidays around spinning the top.

"Dad usually has been the one to spin it first, then sometimes after we fight over who gets to spin it next," Dan said.

While everyone takes turns pulling the string, and watching it spin, there is one thing Lucy wishes she could tell her great grandfather.

"I would love to be able to just sit down at a table with him and say, we did it, we kept it going," Lucy said. "And, to let my great grandfather know, I think we did a good job."

Now with five generations watching each Christmas Eve, the top spins and stops, but the tradition will continue.

There have only been two years that the top did not spin on Christmas Eve. Once when David Linsley and his family were moving to Minnesota and it was packed in one of their horse drawn wagons. The second was when the family went on a trip to Illinois and forgot to pack the top in their suitcase. The Forman Family will spin the top this Christmas at a family home in Deer Park with as many family members watching as possible.

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