No, I’m not posting about the beach today, but I was there yesterday, so I thought I’d look at this photo while I wrote. Crazy wild waves that this photo doesn’t capture, but beautiful.
On to the subject at hand. As mentioned, I spent several days of the past week sorting and packing my mother’s apartment. Still a long way to go, but that is to be expected. What I didn’t expect was one spot where I was caught in memories, and was unable to pack away one thing.
When I was a girl, I loved to play with the contents of my mother’s jewelry box. There in my mother’s closet, was the ornately sculpted-to-look-like-a-miniature-armoire box, in all its pressboard glory. Over the years, the subject of playing with our mothers’ jewelry has come up with various female friends. Maybe it’s a girl thing, maybe it’s a Brooklyn thing–though Flower Child enjoys the same.
There is and never was anything of value in that box, different colored beaded necklaces and bracelets, clip on paste rhinestone earrings (why? her ears were pierced), an old skate key (whose?). And pins, lots of pins. For the younger generation who might be reading, women used to regularly wear pins (brooches) on their blouses and sweaters.
I would ask, is this real? is this one real? My mother’s answer was always yes, though these things are all inexpensive costume pieces.
Really, my mother was not a woman who was “into” jewelry, costume or otherwise. She had a few things she liked and wore regularly, but she didn’t hesitate to leave those pins tucked away, much like girdles, as soon as they were out of fashion. What she loved throughout her life was her collection of Lenox. Accumulated over years, she’s got enough of those ivory colored pieces to fill two aisles in a Hallmark store.
Memories that I didn’t know I had zipped to the surface as I handled each pin. The oddly shaped gold pin with a cluster of “pearls,” firmly attached to a black nylon blouse. A beautiful silver oval with blue, green, and black stones, stabbed through a gray sweater. An elaborately wrought gold flower in a nest of something I still can’t identify, dragging the collar of my grandmother’s green wool coat.
I went through the box on Sunday afternoon, put everything back and closed it. Sunday night after dogwalking I went back to do some more packing with Husband. When we finished the kitchen, I went back to the jewelry box, and showed the pieces to him. Again, I put everything away as it had been, and tucked it back into the corner of the closet.
I’m not sure why I couldn’t pack it up, why this sliver of her life has me stuck, in a way her treasured collection of Lenox knick knacks doesn’t.