Ellen found my mom passed out. (This was last month - when mom was still in her house and not in assisted living) Her jewelry holder was on top of her. Not good memories for Ellen – who doesn’t wear jewelry anyway. I don’t wear much (jewelry) – certainly not enough for the wonderful piece of furniture I remember mom purchasing many years ago. I don’t think I would have even thought about it one way or the other, but it had been moved into the same room where most of the photographs were. I made a request to have it.
Roland brought it in the house and started to put it our room.
“I got that for Jenna,” I said.
He’s ordered her to take really good care of it because it’s an heirloom. That cracked me up. I had never thought of it in that way before. An heirloom is something that has been handed down for several generations. And I suppose if Jenna takes care of it, it could become an heirloom – but I don’t think of it that way now.
Of course the unit itself is probably a lot nicer than most of the jewelry it houses – if not all of it. Jenna has always loved to make and wear jewelry. We made button bracelets with the residents (well some) where my mom lives. Jenna made one for herself and I made one for mom.
She did end up with maybe half to a quarter of jewelry that was left behind by either my mom or either grandmother. Ellen brought another huge box into the room. Fortunately Jenna didn’t notice or I’m certain we would have walked away with more.
The jewelry reminds me of those worn by children when playing dress-ups. Or something to be collected and ripped apart for making something else – which is maybe what they all were at one time.
Some of it is ugly. I guess it could have been considered stylish for its time – what time? Long before I existed, I would think. Jenna feels so grown up with her dangling earrings – disappointed that the really cute ones are all twist-ons that pinch her ears. But she can wear the clips. She wore a pair to church and has taken a pair to school today. Jenna’s enthusiasm makes it all worth it really.
I wish mom’s jewelry was worth something. Most of the pieces seem to be plastic or falling apart. Jenna broke one of the earrings yesterday – I’m certain it was due to years of decay more than on her part. But there were tears in her eyes.
“Oh, it’s okay, honey. We can try and fix it. Or we can break the other one and make barrettes out of them.”
Tears dried up. All the sudden the pair of earrings had become quite valuable.
“We could make barrettes with just this part,” she said as she pointed to the fan part that clipped over the ear. Pointing to the imitation pearl teardrop she continued, “And I can use this part to make a necklace!”
For me the jewelry does not represent mom. The only pieces I truly remember came from one of my grandma’s. I don’t recall mom ever wearing most of it. Maybe two or three pieces out of – how many? I might be able to ask Jenna. She probably counted them when she initially had her eye on them.
If I can find any joy or peace of mind with all the devastation and turmoil that has been felt these past four months or so, this would be it. Jenna’s joy and gratitude. It means a lot to find that pot at the end of the rainbow . . . or even just the rainbow itself.