Tell us the story of a piece of jewelry you own. Where did it come from, and what does it mean to you?
Almost every day I wear a pair of hoop earrings that belonged to my great (great?) grandmother. I got them from my grandmother who only wears post earrings. They’re English gold and from England (as is my grandmother’s family – she was born and raised there). They’re infinite hoops or something – I can spin them all the way around in my ears. Every once in a while I take them out to wear something different, but these are a near constant – I probably wear them more than my wedding ring, which I take off to make bread or when I deal with ground beef or something else gross. I can sleep in the earrings, shower in them, talk on the phone – I nearly forget I’m wearing them.
Now for an interesting story about them. Many moons ago, I worked at a Girl Scout camp in the Adirondack mountains. These earrings were perfect for camp – I could wear them everywhere and not have to worry about losing a back or dropping them thru the space between the slats of the tent floors, etc – the typical problems of living in the wilderness. One day I lost them BOTH in the shower. Somehow they’d come open (they have a little hinge) and they both fell out. I managed to find one in the shower before it washed down the GROSS communal drain. These were open topped showers (so you could shower and see the stars, or the tree tops, or get rained on as an extra rinse cycle…) so in addition to basic body stuff in the drains, there were leaves and general forest detritus. As a further aside, detritus is an excellent word.
Anyway. I find one. I spread the word as best I can to everyone that I’ve lost one gold hoop earring, explain how small it is, and beg the other counselors to watch for it in the shower. I basically lose hope. And then one night after dinner, the program staff were sweeping the dining hall and someone FOUND IT. In the DINING HALL! She happened to notice a little bit of sparkle in the dust and there it was. I was so thrilled. Honestly – that place is magical, so maybe I shouldn’t have been completely surprised, but I was. My great, great grandmother’s earring (it’s smaller than a dime) found its way back to me in the middle of the Adirondack mountains.