Christmas is a time of memories and feelings, some get rehashed, and some are just remembered for the sweet nostalgia of it. This emotionally charged time brings a lot to mind, spending time with the family and opening presents with a decked up tree in the room can be nostalgic of simpler times.
But for one Adrian Pearce, the holidays of 1970 weren’t as sweet as it was for the rest. Pearce’s steady girlfriend, Vicki Allen broke up with him shortly before Christmas in 1970, but gave him a present before bidding adieu.
According to CBC, while handing him the present, Vicki broke up with him saying that she had just met someone else and that she wanted to pursue that relationship instead. After that tragic hit, Adrian walked back home in silent agony, vowing to himself that he’d never open her present.
Adrian Pearce was a 17-year-old Grade 12 student at George S. Henry Secondary School in Don Mills in suburban Toronto, and looking forward to Christmas vacation, which was spoiled. Some years later, Vicki’s sister gave him a few contacts saying she wanted to meet him, but Pearce was resolute on having moved on and found that he did not want to stay in touch with her anymore.
“She gave me a present at the same time and I took the present home. I had a long walk home and I was all upset and angry, and all the things you feel when somebody breaks up with you,” Pearce recounted while in an interview with the CBC. “And so I fired the present under the Christmas tree. After my family opened their gifts at Christmas, there was still one Christmas gift left and it’s the gift this girl Vicki had given me. I told my family I’m never going to open that present.”
And so he never did.
For many years, Pearce continued to place the present under the Christmas tree, every year without fail. He did so even after he got married and had children. Seeing his yearly routine, his children would ask him to open the gift, but Pearce would keep refusing them. Eventually, his wife put her foot down and said it wasn’t welcome under the tree anymore.
He would just pull out the mysterious present and look at it – wrapped in shiny blue paper that had started to fade – an old gift that it was, he would then just put it away again.
“I kept it initially because I guess I had hopes that we would get back together and open it together. Now it’s just become a habit after 47 years of looking at it and having the pleasure of not opening it. Maybe I don’t want to know what’s inside it. It’s more exciting right now not opening the thing.”
Except for last year, where he did something more.
He decided to dial up a few old contacts. He wanted to speak to Vicki about opening the present. But he had no luck finding her through phone contacts since the numbers he had were from 40 years ago. And this is when Pearce decided to summon the power of social networking – he shared a Facebook post about the mystery present and his desire to reconnect with an old flame to put an end to the mystery.
The post then eventually led Pearce to make contact with Vicki. Adrian and his wife Janet met Vicki got together in a cafe. The word of the mystery present and Adrian’s search for his old flame had gotten out, and there was a large crowd eager to see what it was, as he unwrapped the old package.
Vicki had forgotten what it was, but as Adrian unwrapped it, she exclaimed: “Oh no! I can’t give that to him!”
Ironically, it was a small book called ‘Love Is: New Ways To Spot That Certain Feeling’, containing cartoon, poems and sayings about love, as Global News reports.
“Aw! Look at this!” Pearce said. “And look at the condition it’s in!” He told CBC News that he was going to frame the present. He said the present reminded him of how innocent he was at age 17.
The unwrapping of the present was carried out as part of a fundraiser for the Christmas Bureau of Edmonton, a charity that provides Christmas meals for families in need. He’s since written a book about the whole experience, and his wife and Vicki herself contributed chapters.
“I think it’s absolutely fantastic that we’re friends. My wife is friends with [Vicki],” Mr. Pearce told the crowd. “We’re in a fantastic place where all you can feel is love.”