Growing up in a small town in Southern New Jersey

Thursday, June 26, 2008

My mother (again)

This is a picture of my mother and me. This picture of mom is how I will always remember her. I don't remember her as she aged. Maybe I'm trying to block it from my mind. After I married and she passed 65 years of age she deteriorated. And as I traveled home to see her each year I noticed how she was going downhill. So, this is how I want to remember her. Vibrant, obviously loving her child(ren), and happy.

I guess I was thinking so much of my other yesterday and today because I finally got her engagement ring back from the jewelers. Long story here. So hang on.

Several months ago, my sister handed me a box that contained my mom's engagement ring. Now, my mother didn't receive a diamond, but she received a beautiful aquamarine ring, set in sterling silver. The setting had deteriorated, the stone was scuffed, and entirely out of the setting. I took the ring to my favorite jeweler and he couldn't repair it in its original setting. Bummer. So, he and I sat down and went through book after book after book of settings for rings. Now this stone is quite large, so that limited how many settings I had to choose from. Also cost was a factor, since I couldn't get anything in sterling, and had to opt for white gold instead.

Well, I'm wearing that ring today (and yesterday). And I was thinking that my mother was engaged probably in 1935 sometime. I don't know, and my brother has all my father's letters to my mother, and that information is probably contained in one of those letters. Anyway, that makes the ring 73 years old. Well, the old ring is 73 years old. The new ring is 73/0 years old. The stone is old, the setting is new, but looks old.

I was thinking about how happy my mom always looked in her pictures, even when she was old and could hardly remember her own name. That ring was given to me when I was a teenager, and I thought I had lost it or that it was lost in our move from Fanwood to Cincinnati (my charm bracelet disappeared in that move as well as several other family pieces). I was so glad that my sister had it and was willing to give it to me.

So this ring was worn by me on my pinkie finger for years and then I didn't know where it was and my father would ask me from time to time why I didn't wear the ring. I told him it didn't fit (truth, but not the whole truth). I just couldn't tell him it was lost.

Now as I look at the old setting I wonder how it even fit on my pinkie. My mom had extremely small fingers. Her wedding band is a size 4. I've been wondering if my father chose an aquamarine because they were married in March and that's the birthstone for March.

In fact, my mother and father were married on March 21, 1937 -- 61 years before my son was married on March 21, 1998. (I think I have that year correct).

I wish I could have been a fly on the wall when my mom got engaged and when she got married. I see the pictures and I know how happy she was. You can't fake happiness in a picture. You can smile, but as I mentioned before smiles aren't always smiles that evoke happiness, they're just plastered on your face because someone is taking a picture. I don't have any pictures of my mother that say, "cheese."

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