Saturday, August 4, 2012

An Unexpected Gift......Philadelphia (Part 8)

"...Do not forsake your mother's teaching:
Indeed, they are a graceful wreath to your head.....

During the evenings while I was visiting my grandmother in Philadelphia, I stayed in and enjoyed the peace and stillness.

It was during these quiet evenings that I took the opportunity to look through her vast collection of jewelry.
Before anyone thinks I just snooped around and plundered her belongings while she was away, let me explain the situation.
My mother and a friend of hers had visited with her and stayed in her apartment a couple weeks before I could get there.
At the time, my grandmother was in the hospital and not expected to come home to live by herself any longer.
So in an effort to help get the apartment ready for whatever was going to happen next, my mother and her friend began cleaning and organizing some things (with my grandmother's permission.)
It struck me that at 96 years old, having arthritic knees that make it difficult to get around, one is not as motivated to stay on top of keeping your things organized.
My grandmother has a cleaning lady who helps with the cleaning, but she does not de-clutter or organize her belongings.
One of the things that my mother's friend did was go through her jewelry collection and neatly put each and every piece in individual little baggies.  She grouped sets of necklaces, bracelets and earrings together, and put together all the brooches/pins into one place, etc.
So my mother encouraged me to look through some of that while I was there to see if there was anything I might want.
I had no idea what a large collection of things she had!!
Neither did she (come to find out later!)
It took me more than one evening to look at each piece.
You can learn a lot about a person when you study the jewelry they wear or collect!
I discovered my grandmother enjoyed butterfly and flower motifs!
I also discovered that she loved earrings (based on the dozens and dozens of pairs she had), but had never had her ears pierced.  They were all clip on type earrings.

I found a random bag of cuff links, and thought of my husband who had just recently commented that he would like to get himself a couple of french cuff dress shirts for church again, but had no cuff links.
I thought he would enjoy wearing my grandfather's cuff links.
I then thought about my girls and how delighted they would be if I would bring home a piece of jewelry for them!
On Monday afternoon, I mentioned to my grandmother that I had been looking through her collection and wondered if she could tell me some stories about how she acquired some of these pieces.
I was really hoping for a great sentimental story about some of the pieces that I had found.
She told me to bring them in for her look at them.
When I brought what I loved the most, I was mildly disappointed that she couldn't remember where she purchased any of the pieces.
She told me that she would just buy what she liked.
She only remembered one set that my grandfather had purchased for her and that everything else she had picked up along the way as she was shopping.
I even asked her if she could remember an event or special outfit she bought some of the pieces for, but nothing special stood out in her mind.
When she looked at what I brought, she asked "Would you like to have them?"
When I told her, "Not these, but I know someone who would LOVE to have them."
"Who?" she asked.
When I told her "Lexi" she pushed them at me and said, "Take them."
She was concerned that there wouldn't be anything for the other girls, but I reassured her that indeed she did have some pieces Abby and Ashlyn would love!!

And those cuff links for my husband?
I brought them to her to see, and she said, "Oh, those were mine.  I wore them on my nurses uniform way back when nurses wore the long sleeve dresses with the french cuffs!"
But she said she was saving them for someone who would use them and she was so happy that my husband was interested in them.

I took her several more pieces that I was interested in for myself as well.  Several of them she wanted to keep, but these are the ones she gladly let me bring home!

We are keeping these set apart and special so as we wear them we can remember what a special, generous lady she is and how she loved sharing her beautiful things with us.

"......and ornaments about your neck."
Proverbs 1:8 and 9

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