A story inspired by a piece of jewelry…
When I suggested this topic, I had in mind a very touching story that involved me in a minor way. I then feared that nearly everyone else would have a story involving wedding rings or other family jewelry, but I was wrong, so I will tell you a tale of two family pieces.
When I met my husband’s family, his parents had just separated. The two oldest sons were off on their own and my husband, the third in line, had just returned to the family. The two oldest sisters were also away,(later to return), and that “only” left the youngest ten with their mother. (I’ll do the math for you: it adds up to fifteen children.)
At the same time, my future in-laws’ twenty-fifth wedding anniversary arrived. My husband thought that was too important a date to ignore. Not only had his mother had fifteen children in twenty years, (one set of twins), she had made it possible for his father to have a very distinguished Naval career. She cut a fine figure, she entertained, she had cared for the family the many times he was away and she performed all the duties expected of a commandant’s wife in two posts…she also hadn’t made waves over certain WAVES, (if you get my drift).
So, my husband bought his mother a rather large white gold ring with five not-too-small,(not really large), diamonds to mark the milestone, knowing that his father would not acknowledge her and no one knew if this was, indeed, the end of the line for the marriage. His mother put it on her finger and we never saw her without it.
Fast-forward six years of our friendship, (I had actually met my future mother-in-law before I met my future husband). We had been though his going away to college, his return to the seminary, and engagement to another young woman and a couple of attempts at a romance between us. I moved almost two-thousand miles away, but, when my now-husband traveled to the state next to my new one to get a job, he visited me and we knew we needed to be together. He returned to his mother’s area to complete his other work when and told his mother about our engagement. His mother asked him what he was going to do about giving me a diamond.
He told her that he had given me a family pin the she had entrusted to him, one that her father had won in a shooting competition.(The man is said to have been on an Olympic team.) It’s a beautiful gold stickpin with a diamond in a lovely setting.
I was never much for jewelry. Back then, I usually only wore a small watch and sometimes a dainty necklace on a chain, but I had recently taken to wearing pins and this was a wonderfully sentimental, (and valuable), symbol for me, a perfect token of him making me part of the family, and making family with me.
But his mother would not hear of it; he had to get me a ring. When he said he needed his small savings for our immediate needs, she took the ring he had given her off of her finger and gave it to him for me.
I could not have been more touched.
Do any of you have a family piece of jewelry? Do they have a story?