It was probably Mother’s most expensive bracelet. I recognized it immediately when my sister, Denise, took it out of the old, tattered box and handed it to me. Just holding it in my hand made me feel close to Mother.
It was her charm bracelet she wore only on very special occasions because it was made of sterling silver. It took her many years to collect the five charms on it. I carefully straightened it out in front of me for a closer inspection. The years had tarnished it but it still made me smile.
Two little silver heads, one female and one male, represent my sister and me. I turned over the little boy’s head and my name and birthday were engraved. Mother always had us hanging side by side front and center of her bracelet. You could always tell the ones representing us were the most important of her charms.
There is also a charm that represents Mother’s birthday, one that documents Mother and Daddy’s anniversary, and one from Jamaica where they vacationed many years ago. It was an all-expense paid trip Daddy won at his work and the furthest my parents ever traveled. The charm is formed in the shape of the island and stands out from the other charms because it features some white enamel accents.
I remember the trip well. Denise and I stayed with our grandparents while they were away. We thought they were movie stars embarking on an exotic, tropical trip. They came back bearing souvenirs for us that we both still have. Mother was so excited that she had to have a small memento of their fun vacation.
“What are we going to do with this?” Denise asked, bringing me back to the present. “I’m not going to wear the bracelet but I think we should definitely keep it.” “Absolutely!” I replied. “I want my charm and Mother’s birthday charm.” We decided to split them up. Denise wanted to remove her charms and place them on a necklace. I decided to keep the bracelet with the charms I selected still attached.
I went to a local jewelry store to have them clean the bracelet and place the charms in the manner I wanted them. When I picked it up, It was gleaming with pride. Even though it only has two small charms, to me, it is priceless. I’m thinking about framing it in a creative way.
I just recently handled a similar project for one of my good friends, Nell Harrington, who is originally from Milledgeville but now lives in Macon. She enlisted my help on a very special birthday present. Her son, Jay, was turning 60 and she had kept his first Easter suit. It is white linen, perfectly pressed, carefully placed on a clothes hanger and covered with transparent plastic that had yellowed with time. Attached to the plastic was the receipt from the dry cleaners. Nell wanted me to have it put into a shadow box with a small silver plaque. I thought that was so cool that Nell had managed to keep the little suit for that many years. Nell is very special to me for many reasons but the fact that she is close to the same age Mother would have been now makes her even more special.
Bits and pieces of our past hold the keys that unlock special memories in our mind. You should have seen the expression on Jay’s face when he saw the treasure his mom had saved. I couldn’t see my own face when I saw Mother’s charm bracelet but I’m pretty sure it was the same. I am thrilled to have something that meant so much to my mother. It is a sterling silver memory for sure!
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