Can it be? Am I really living in this city? First Madonna, now Ms. Lavezzo-Snedecor

Frames Page News Stories: "Livermore�s Holiday Tree Tells �His� Story

By Ron McNicoll

Livermore is now home to an up-and-coming tree that may someday top the publicity charts.

Dubbed Bruce Sprucetree by the creative staff at Livermore Downtown Inc, the evergreen is the city's new official holiday tree. After the annual holiday parade marches from M Street to North Livermore Avenue along First Street at 6 p.m. Dec. 4, Mayor Marshall Kamena will throw the switch and light up the tree to kick off the holiday season. Santa Claus will be there, too.

Like his human approximate namesake, Bruce Springsteen, the evergreen aspires to stand tall in his field. He was born in the USA, though in his case, it was at a tree nursery.

When the lights are turned on, Bruce will have the most important role in the stand of trees in a small park downtown, so he definitely will have the stature of the boss. So it's fitting that Rachael Lavezzo-Snedecor has penned a book about him, titled, simply enough, Bruce Sprucetree. It tells the story of Bruce's discovery at a tree farm by a Livermore city employee (in real life it was Ed Murdoch), and his truck trip to Livermore.

"The story is told as seen through the eyes of Bruce. I had to become a tree to write it. I had to think about what happens when Bruce leaves his little nursery yard, and how he felt seeing the Bay water for the first time, with fishing boats on it. He goes on the freeway for the first time, and then into a countryside road with vineyards, so it ties in with our area. Then it ties into the (holiday) parade", said Lavezzo-Snedecor.

The unfortunate demise of Bruce's predecessor in the Livermore park (the tree was blown down in a storm) isn't mentioned. However, one of the redwoods says that he misses the tree, and is glad that Bruce is filling the place.

Bruce is befriended in the park by a redwood named Buck “who takes him under his wing, or his branches” in a fatherly way, said the author. “He has always been a shy, lonely tree. Now it is time for him to be something special. The other trees tell him he is the most important tree there. They don’t tell him why. They’d rather surprise him,” says Lavezzo-Snedecor. The book is illustrated by Laura Marion, a 16-year-old Livermore High School student. The writer discovered Marion’s work at a local art fair. “She’s an incredible artist. She will have about 20 illustrations in the book,” said Lavezzo-Snedecor.

Jim Ott, former Pleasanton poet laureate who serves as a Livermore chamber official, contributed feedback as an informal editor. “He offered some gentle revisions, and came back with good, positive thoughts and feelings about the book,” said Lavezzo-Snedecor.

The book is the publication of Livermore Downtown Inc., where Lavezzo-Snedecor is the executive director. “It’s my way to add my personal part, as volunteer service for downtown. The board (of the organization) was very receptive to the idea. I’m glad they embraced it, and are making it a highlight.”

Approximately 500 copies are planned.

Lavezzo-Snedecor feels a special connection to her holiday effort. She has fielded calls from parents who missed the tree that was blown down, and who regarded it as “their family’s tree.” Now that there is a new tree, the families will be happy again.

The hopes are for a release of the book following the tree-lighting, though last-minute production problems may delay it. When published, the book will be for sale during business hours at Livermore Downtown Inc.