Beck column: Remembering husband and some special jewelry
Over the years I’ve written about the coat, the dress, the robe, and after this special day, I decided it was time to write about The Jewelry. I’m sure most of you ladies love jewelry, and some men like to give jewelry as a gift for special occasions.
I never had any special jewelry as a child; the first jewelry I received as a gift was a watch. It was a Christmas present from a special boyfriend when I was 15. That watch is still tucked away in my jewelry box with many fond memories. It was so pretty and dainty that these old eyes can no longer read the numbers.
When my husband proposed to me, he gave me a tiny diamond that was surrounded with a square setting that somewhat smothered the stone because it was white gold (which was my favorite back then). Joe was working hard for only $30 a week and we moved to Indiana ,where he could make more working for his brother. He had purchased the ring on credit, and as soon as we got it and his car paid off, we came back to North Carolina.
I don’t remember receiving many compliments through the years, but I loved my ring and my husband. After Joe passed away 27 years later, the engagement ring band had worn very thin and the diamond needed resetting. The owners of Signature Jewelry went to my church, and Patsy helped me pick a stylish setting in yellow gold.
I changed the ring to my index finger and quit wearing my wedding band. Since that time I’ve received many compliments on my little diamond almost everywhere I go, especially if I “reach out to touch” someone or something. Experts tell us that diamonds appreciate in value, and others say diamonds are “a girl’s best friend.” I know my appreciation grows every time I receive a compliment on my little jewel.
I never asked for jewelry because we always needed other things more through the years. Sometimes I would buy costume jewelry, but never anything expensive. For our 25th wedding anniversary, we had planned to go out West, but in April of that year I had seizures, and we had to postpone our trip. My husband surprised me with a short sterling silver chain that has a wedding bell surrounded by a wedding ring. He had it especially designed for me, and I’ve never seen anything quite like it. I’ve always treasured this, but seldom wear necklaces unless I can slip the chain over my head. I no longer have anyone to fasten the clasp for me, so I wear necklaces less and less.
By now some of you are probably wondering why I’m writing about this. Well, remember I’ve said before, I started out writing my stories years ago in a journal and then began to share them with others, so just consider this one of those journal entries.
The day before this story came to my mind, I had been browsing around in an antique shop downtown. I was not in the buying mode until I saw a beautiful white embroidered blouse that only cost $8. It was my size and was from Honolulu, so I couldn’t resist. Then I saw a rack of tops where each one was less than $10. There were three I wanted to wear with some pants I have.
Later as I was preparing to go out with some friends, the neckline of one top and some silver hoop earrings cried out for a short necklace. For the first time in more than 16 years, I realized this necklace would fit perfectly if my girlfriend would fasten it. I looked in the mirror and actually felt attractive. All day and into the evening, I toyed with the necklace and sweet memories of the love of my life.
Joe only brought me nice jewelry one other time, but once again, had it custom made for me. He knew how I loved crosses so he had a set of earrings made with crosses that had a tiny sliver of a diamond in the center of the cross. I loved those earrings and wore them almost everywhere I went.
One day when I got out on my side of the car at his mother’s house, I realized one cross was missing. I was so upset; we checked all over the ground, in the car, and our house when we returned home. I was heartbroken and Joe assured me that he could get another earring to match the one that I still had; and so he did.
Just about a year later, I drove us to Joe’s old home place. Just as he got out on the passenger side of the car, I saw him bend over and pick something up. We all called him “Eagle-Eye Joe” because he could spot things on the side of the road at 70 miles an hour. When he stood up he asked, “Babe, have you lost an earring lately?”
“I don’t think so,” I replied.
He had a big grin on his face and said, “I believe you did once upon a time.”
Both of my hands flew up immediately to feel whether I had an earring missing.
Joe walked around the car and said, “Close your eyes and open your hand.” I felt the excitement rising as he squeezed my hand closed. When I opened my eyes, I was shocked to see that he had found the lost cross earring.
The only damage was that the post which the jeweler had put on the cross had been broken off. To look at it, one would never have believed it had been in that gravel driveway for over a year. As it happened, they had just put new gravel down and the process of doing so must have uprooted the earring. Joe took that one back and had it fixed on a chain. I ended up with three crosses and wore them frequently. Until he was no longer there to fasten the tiny chain.
My health was so bad then that I gave the set to my youngest daughter. When I see her with the jewelry on now, memories wash over me just as they did this time over the anniversary necklace. Sometimes, I’m tempted to use my ancestral rights and become an Indian giver. But she has memories of her dad also, and I believe the gift has been special to her.
Joe has been gone now a little over 16 years, and days like this one bring him back to me in a vivid way. With a little help, or by watching my hands in the mirror, that old necklace that he had created for me may be new to me all over again.
Memories of my husband and the jewelry he gave me reminded me of some scripture that got me through my early years as a widow and it reads like this:
Ecclesiastes 3:1 “There is a time for everything and a season for every activity under heaven;
Ecclesiastes 3:4 …a time to weep and a time to laugh, a time to mourn and a time to dance…”
Linda Beck lives in Woodleaf.