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.