A Charm-ed Bracelet

I have a treasure that is… well, a treasure to me.

It’s a simple little silver charm bracelet with several silver charms.  It’s tarnished, but I never want it polished and new and shiny.  That would take away from its charm.  I don’t remember the first time I actually saw this bracelet or held this bracelet in little girl hands… it was a long, long time ago… but I do know that it charms me each time I see it or hold it. Even today.

This charm bracelet belongs to my Mom.  When I was a very little girl, my Mom would tell me about each of the little charms.  Over and over and over again.  I marveled at the charms.  I marveled at the stories.    They are the story of her youth.  I always wanted a charm bracelet just like hers, and I did get a silver bracelet and a little silver charm for my 13th birthday.  (That is a story for another day…)

But my Mom’s charm bracelet will always be the charm bracelet in my life.  It’s heavy.  1940’s kind of heavy, if you know what I mean.  It is exquisite.  The workmanship, the detail.  The pride that went into creating it.  It’s sturdy, yet dainty all at the same time.  The clasp is secure and you can hear it snap shut.  Old school.  Finely made.  Perfect…

… but the charms!  Oh, the charms! The simple silver charms are what charm me ’til this very day.  There’s a solid silver basketball… with the markings still intact.  My Mom, a tiny little girl turned tiny little lady, played basketball as a kid and she loved basketball.  This basketball charm is one of her most treasured tokens from her childhood.  There’s a teapot… with a lid that opens and shuts.  I remember opening and closing that silver teapot hundreds of times, fascinated with its tiny details.  I’m still fascinated with its detail and I still open and close it!

There’s a little hand-push lawnmower.  Of course, back in the 30’s and 40’s, that was what a lawnmower was!  It still has every single tiny detail intact.  There’s the bowling pin, a lovely little lamp, and an airplane with a propeller that still twirls.  This propeller has been twirling for well over 70 years.  There’s a silver lady in a silver cinched-waist dress, and her arms are tiny, tiny but sturdy, just like the women of her day… my Mom’s day.  Those tiny arms have held onto that silver lady forever.  There’s a silver challis that I used to pretend to drink from.  My 6-year old grandson is certain that the challis belonged to Indiana Jones… and I’m not convincing him otherwise!  There’s also a charm that looks like a well… but my Mom still tells me it’s a tool of some sort.

Then there are the charms that may not charm everyone.  There’s the hand grenade, the bullet, the spyglass and the medal with the tiny little inscription, now almost impossible to read, on the back:  I AM A CATHOLIC. IN CASE OF AN ACCIDENT NOTIFY A PRIEST.  These are the charms I love the most.  These charms take me back to the heart and soul of my Mom and of another time.   My Mom lived through World War II.  Both of her brothers and many of her cousins went off to fight on land they had never heard of… fighting a great big cause that they believed in.  These young people, now either very old or deceased, were patriotic and they had faith in their religions.  These special charms represent that other time, those ideals.  I find the charms and the ideals mesmerizing.

Just yesterday, I was talking to a dear blogging/Facebook friend whom I’ve never met in person, but whom I love with all my heart.  We were messaging back and forth about possible patriotic poems that her young children might recite in a school and district-wide contest.  I felt a bit helpless in my suggestions, not being sure at all about political correctness… and words and ideals that seem to offend so many people.  Could the poem mention the word God?  What about war and battles and flags and the actual word patriotism?  Then I remembered my Mom’s charm bracelet that held the story of my Mom’s young life…

There are no sparkly jewels or bangles or vivid colors on my Mom’s charm bracelet.  But there’s a journey… right before your eyes.

Then I thought… can you imagine buying a hand grenade or spyglass or bullet charm for your child or grandchild or a special little girl in your life? But my Mom and her generation lived with war.  They lived with evil beyond evil.  But somehow they survived.  They survived to become beautiful moms and dads and grandparents and now great-grandparents… and citizens of our nation and our world.  They were patriotic and spiritual.  They had courage.  They had dreams.

But maybe… just maybe… they were never as fearful as we are.  Fearful to hold our ideals high.  Or wear them on our bracelets.  To explain them to our children and grandchildren and some day, to our great-grandchildren.  Yes, it was another time.  It’s a time I love to visit each time I see or hold or wear my Mom’s charm bracelet and live her story all over again… the story of her generation and their ideals.

A Charm-ed Bracelet was last modified: January 21st, 2011 by Sharon Couto
SHOWHIDE Comments (7)
  1. Oh Sharon, you are so right. I want my children to be able to proudly declare their patriotism, their beliefs and their religion. I want them to (and believe me, they are) be so proud of their Daddy who so often misses birthdays and Christmas’ because he’s serving his country in distant lands. I have often thought that some may find it odd that my son has such a fascination with military vehicles and items but it’s what his Daddy does and he is SO, SO proud to tell people all about this. Why shouldn’t he be? You’ve inspired me. I am now going to hunt for a beautiful charm bracelet for my daughters. I want each charm to represent them and to tell their story. Further, I want their story to be one that they are proud to tell.

    Those poems are coming right along! I had no idea the joy my kids would have over this assignment! I sincerely hope that more parents encourage their kids to participate. Thank you so much for your help and thank you even more for your friendship. I love you so, so much.

  2. What a “Charming” post. I loved hearing the story behind each charm. What a treasure you have. It makes me want to go get my charm bracelet out and hold it again.

  3. I love this story. Of course I always love your stories. I have a charm bracelet in my jewelry box somewhere. Now I want to go dig it out and look.

  4. Sharon: I LOVE that bracelet and I so wish I could touch it. I love every single charm and the little story behind. Can’t believe your Mom played basketball. I would just think that was not the norm for a girl back then. In any event; this charm bracelet would make an excellent Hallmark Hall of Fame movie – seriously. I have my own silver charm bracelet from my childhood and I love sitting and looking at each one of the charms sometimes to go down memory lane. I have a feeling though that it isn’t as heavy and as of such good quality as your Mothers. This was one of your best posts. Thank you for sharing it. Hugs!
    P.S.: if you pitch this story to Hallmark channel, mention me 😉

  5. Thank you, everyone, for these wonderful comments. I do LOVE my Mom’s charm bracelet and it has enthralled me for years… decades! Kim… my Mom DID LOVE sports way back when and she still does. She is tiny, tiny but was a fast runner and a competitive person. She still is! Every big race I register for now is to honor my Mom. She can’t come to running events or triathlons because walking from place to place and sitting for long periods of time in the sun or wind is not possible for her, but she sits by her phone until I call to report on a race… for me or any of our children and her great-grandchildren! Barry and I visited my Mom’s older brother last year in Florida (he’s 89!) and we sat for hours while he told us so many stories of their childhood (my Mom is 2nd of 7 children and the oldest girl). He told us of my Mom’s athletic prowess, especially her running and her basketball! My Mom always told me these stories, but it was so wonderful to hear the pride and love of her older brother! My Uncle’s dream was to run Boston Marathon… they grew up in Boston… and he was so PROUD of Jane for being the family member who DID… but he was drafted into the service of World War II. Oh, I could go on and on! Big HUGS to all of you who commented! xo!