Jewelry has never been a wild facination of mine. Good friends of mine could spend hours shopping, talking about and comparing jewelry. I shudder to think about how much time they spend debating which pieces to wear on any given day.
I like nice things, don't get me wrong. But I don't have a lot of capacity for thinking much about it beyond seeing great stuff on other people and fleetingly thinking I should be paying attentio to stuff like that.
Jeff insisted that I go along when he bought my engagement ring. It took him approximately six years one day to narrow down the selections.
We ended up having the jeweler ( a lovely man who closed his shop not long after when he'd become a widow and the city had plans for his prime real estate) design a set of engagement/wedding rings that when joined form a circle of small diamonds around a larger one. I'd fled to the nearby shopping mall long before the final decision was made.
I love my rings. Wear 'em every day. But I can't claim a lot of credit for creating them.
Another ring I wear every day is one that a dear friend of my mother-in-law's gave her as a remembrance after the friend had been given a terminal diagnosis. I know what it meant to my mother-in-law and when I see it on my hand, I think of her and true friendship.
When my friend, Lynda, was seriously ill, a few of us took to wearing a piece of her jewelry (Lynda LOVES jewelry) to keep her close while she recovered. She insisted we give it back once she'd escaped the hospital. (sigh)
To help my friend Julie recover after she donated a kidney to her son, my Book Club gave her the gift of housecleaning. In response, her mother made jewlery for anyone who'd ever spared Julie a passing positive thought. I happened to spy a necklace that matches perfectly a rare purchase of mine from an art fair. It seemed like fate.
Today, my sweet friend Denise and her lovely husband Scott came over with a box of jewelry that Denise had in mind to offer to Alison. They're moving soon, and she's trying to downsize their possessions. The pieces in the box were those that she loves -- each has a story -- but she doesn't wear much anymore. She was looking for a good home for one or all of them.
Alison was thrilled, and both she and I were taken back to a tearful but joyful time when we sorted through the last of my mother-in-law's jewelry with my sister-in-law, Jen.
I'm not the most sentimental of people, and it was a bit of a shock to me to realize today how many things I have in this house that I'm hanging onto (and will never let go) because they touched special people in my life. I have my grandfather's jewelry box and the tie-pin he wore to church every Sunday.
My collection isn't limited to jewelry, though.
I have my maternal grandmother's bookcase that she kept stuffed with Harlequin Romances. I have some notebooks my paternal grandmother wrote on just because it's her handwriting. I have a note my friend Jackie's mother wrote me after an incident in school that was not my most stellar moment but she got a kick out of. I have a $10 bill that I won in a bet with an Indiana mayor hidden behind the framed Irish wish he and his right-hand man gave me when I left that town.
Jeff and I sleep under a quilt my sister, Donna, made for us. Ali has sheets that Donna embroidered for her back in Ali's Littlest Pet Shop days. I have Jen's throw pillows on my couch and we use dishes salvaged from my childhood home in those last days of estate disposition.
I have pillows and a quilt my grandmother made for me and gave me early out of fear that she'd be dead before she could give it to me, as was her tradition, for my wedding gift. (Turns out, she was right, but did at least get to meet and approve of Jeff.)
I have flowers in my yard that I dug up from my parent's yard and near my grandparents property. On my key chain is a charm my cousin Howard gave me when I was 16 that says, "Slow me down, Lord." (An unaswered prayer if there ever was one.)
I have a pew from the church my grandparents built and my dad modified to a two-seater. Yes, in MY house, I have a church pew. I get the irony. We have stuff from Jeff's family, too: the toybox his grandather made him, a milking stool -- all kinds of stuff.
I used to make fun of the collectors in my life, whether it was Beanie Babies or cast iron, or this or that type of glass or figurines. I didn't realized until this minute that I'm a hoarder just like everybody else.
When Denise opened up her box of jewelry, I blinked back some tears. Sad ones because she's leaving and while we didn't spent as much time together as we should have, it's going to be even harder with her states away.
But some were happy tears because we are quite literally keeping pieces of her. So she won't be far no matter where she goes. And neither, apparently, will anyone else I've loved in my life.
I'm hoping that sounds more spiritual and sentimental than creepy....
Photos this week are of Ali with Denise and Scott and wearing her favorite piece from Denise's collection and a couple of the Easter cake pops Alison made. She's decided she needs to make cookies today, but I won't let her make more sweets until her current batch is gone.
She went up and down our street distributing the cake pops and Easter greetings so I'm off to the store for supplies.
Happy spring, everyone!