When I open the lid of my jewelry box and look at my collection of rings, I remember how I came to own them over my lifetime. I’d like to share these memories with you.
In my jewelry box, Along with family treasures and keepsakes, there is a friendship ring that a boyfriend gave to me, a brilliant but unhappy young man, who died much too young...by his own hand. Sitting side by side are my high school and college class rings. These keepsakes bring on a cascade of memories of roommates, friends, teachers, classes, art projects, parties, proms, dances, graduations — high school, undergraduate teaching degree, a master’s level degree, and a business management degree. Beyond the master's level in college,I took Spanish and French language classes for fun even up to a few years ago. I confess my accent is still American no matter what language I speak.
Lifting the lid of my jewelry box, along the top row there are wedding rings that bring me sadness, although I’m so happy that I have them. My darling grandmother’s rings; my mother’s rings; my father’s gold initial “HH” confirmation ring; my Aunt Joan’s pearl ring; and my Uncle Gene’s signet ring. These are the real treasures, for their spirits all return to me each time I lift the lid of the jewelry box.
Frankly, I hated school; I think because of the lock step and because I have always observed the roses and I needed to stop and smell them. Examine them. Draw them. And admire them for their beauty and complexity. I’m a bit of hermit and from early childhood on I loved my solitude to read, write and work on art; an agoraphobic with a touch of panic disorder thrown in for good measure. Not only that, but minor distractions were a problem: The way a teacher said a word; a nervous mannerism; their teeth, hair, clothes; all were a distraction to their message. Not only that, but I never much cared for the company of other children and preferred my grandmother’s company above anyone else. I learned so much from her and perhaps that’s why I believe in experiential life-long learning, mostly through travel, but through classroom education and training as well. The women adults in my family imparted social skills that have always worked to my advantage.
Even an agoraphobic has to eat and so I’ve have worked from the time I was 14, when I babysat and waited tables earning money to buy clothes. It was then I decided not to smoke; I didn't know the health risks at that time, but I figured it would just be the same as lighting a match to the money I earned and I'd rather have clothes and shoes. All through my childhood, my grandmother, and her sister, Mabel, made many of my dresses and taught me to sew. I enjoyed designing and sewing my own personal collection of clothes for most of the lean years.
After a divorce and life as a single parent to a bright, beautiful daughter, there were lean years of low wages for women when it was a toss-up — gas for the car or good food on the table. Fortunately, she had a wonderful baby-sitter, who gave her plentiful, nourishing meals while in her care, because many times my daughter and I had dinners of chicken bullion soup, a slice of cheese, and a few crackers. At the end of the week if we had enough for gas, too, we could drive to my mother’s house for Sunday dinner.
My whole life my mother was a blessing. She helped me pay for my education and gave me money to make ends meet during the lean years. I’m sure there was a lot of sacrifice involved, but she never brought it up. She was always there for me, listening, offering her shoulder, and helping me lift and carry my burden.
Later on, when things got easier, I bought pretty baubles on trips. When I pick them up from the jewelry box, memories of where I went and what I did come flooding back and I relive it all moment by moment. And then I met my husband, Jon (three’s a charm!), and he enticed me to try marriage again. He gave me a beautiful ring, but he’s the real jewel in the marriage.
During my career, I taught art to children and adults, English, and elementary education. I worked for many years during my career as a journalist, in marketing, in advertising producing graphic art and copywriting, and in public relations. I retired and I'm currently doing what I like best: I'm busy at work on the third in the Bound by Destiny series, In a Secret World. We live in Paradise Valley, Arizona, with two very demanding Yap-shire Terriers, Scooter and Jillian, and a new member of the canine family, a white toy poodle, who we lovingly named, Perfectly-Precious-Pierre, the Poodle Doodle.
...and the journey continues!
A brief view of my life in pictures!
Click to enlarge pictures!