Many years ago, when our oldest son was about 7 years old, he discovered I had what he called “real, live jewelry.” Actually it was neither real nor live.
He happened to be in our room when I opened my jewelry box, and he saw a pin and earrings which were a going away gift from my co-workers when I left a summer job. They were pretty, light blue and white rhinestones shaped like forget-me-nots.
He was definitely impressed. So I dug a little deeper and produced the diamond-like necklace, earrings and bracelet Bill had given me a few years before our son was born. Then such jewelry was in style, and we went places where I could wear it. There was also a blue ice bracelet that matched the pin.
It really sparkled, almost as much as our son’s young eyes as he regarded this “treasure trove.” We put it back in the jewelry box, and I wondered if I’d ever have occasion to wear it again.
That evening we decided to go to visit Grandpa and Grandma in New Madison. Everybody was ready to pile into the car except the oldest. He was sitting stoically on the bottom step of the staircase with his toy rifle across his lap.
“C’mon, let’s go!” his dad said.
“You go. I’m staying here,” he replied.
“Get in the car,” Dad ordered.
“But somebody’s got to stay here and guard Mom’s jewels,” he explained solemnly.
It was too complicated to explain, so I just got the jewelry box, jammed it into the diaper bag, and said, “Let’s go.”
After a while he got over it, and I put the “jewels” away again. The last I remember seeing them was several years later when they were part of a costume for a princess. They still sparkled.
During one of the latest family get-togethers when my brother Dave was visiting us, the two youngest grandsons approached me to ask if we could go for a walk. I noticed the dishes were being done so I said, “Sure, just as soon as I can get ready.”
They offered to help me as they followed me up the stairs. I declined their offer because I just needed to put on my walking shoes. They just chuckled at each other, and as they looked at my jeans and T-shirt one said, “You don’t have your jewelry on yet.”
I laced up my shoes while they picked out my accessories. They chose a long gold colored chain with a pendant for around my neck. Then they picked a non-matching bracelet for one arm and a big watch with a leather band for the other. Then they chose long drop earrings to complete the ensemble.
They looked over their fashion creation with a critical eye. It was evident something was wrong. I hoped I’d be able to ditch the dangling earrings. As I reached up to remove them the older boy said, “We forgot her ring!”
“Yeah,” the 3-year-old agreed. “I know,” he said, “Give her the diamond with the blue stuff in it.”
I was puzzled, but the 5-year-old reached confidently for the light blue fake topaz ring and waited for me to put it on my finger.
Then the grandkids, my brother Dave, and I took our walk down the block, around the grain elevator, down the railroad tracks, up and around the short hill to our old homestead and back home by way of the alley.
I don’t think Dave even noticed my “fine jewelry.” Either he lacks my young grandsons’ fashion flair or he was too polite to say anything out loud.
No, he is my brother. He would have said something if he had noticed. Maybe he was too busy appreciating the fact we were walking along with most of my grandkids where he and I played with our neighborhood friends back when we were youngsters.
AUTHOR’S NOTE: This column was first published in the Greenville Advocate on Dec. 6, 2000.