Provenance

by Jennifer on June 4, 2009

I laugh when I notice what Elle’s wearing around her ankle.

She’s dancing around the living room, dressed in what can only be described as a  getup – a dark red and navy wool plaid skirt  and a bright print top in wild colors.

And around her right ankle, a bracelet that once belonged to my grandmother.

It’s not valuable, at least not in price, and when Elle found it in my jewelry box, there was no question of whether I would let her keep it. Let it circle her wrist rather than sit unused in a jewelry box.

Of course, if anyone kept track of its movements since it came into my daughter’s possession, they might think we haven’t taken very good care of it. I’ve found it under Elle’s bed, at the bottom of her box of dress up things, in my purse, in the bathroom, on the floor in the hallway, in a kitchen drawer, and in her own jewelry box. For starters. (The crown jewels get slightly better treatment, I’ll admit. )

And now, around her ankle.

The bracelet isn’t delicate, but it is decorated with flowers. With it around her ankle, below the plaid skirt, Elle manages to look like a  schoolgirl with attitude and a Bobbsey Twin in one stylish fell swoop. I think (I know) it would have made my grandmother laugh.

She stops dancing after a few moments. “This is bothering me, can you take it off?” I unclasp the bracelet. Hold it in front of me while I take a moment longer than I need to close the clasp again. I think of my grandmother.

“Is your grandma still alive?” Elle is watching me. She’s always known where the bracelet came from, and seems to read my mind.

“No, sweetie, she’s not.”

Except in this. She’s alive in this bit of her that I hold in my hands. In things as small as a bracelet. Or as big as the heart of a seven year old.

It’s not enough, but it’s a lot.

_______________________________________

I wanted to thank everyone for the kind comments on my last post, about that bit of writing. With all the packing and getting ready for our move, I didn’t get around to sending everyone a note by email.  I hope you will accept my deep thanks now – your words were so encouraging and lovely and they (you) made my day. xoxo

{ 32 comments… read them below or add one }

Christy June 4, 2009 at 4:29 am

She is–absolutely! I’ve never been of the school where you believe things from the past should be locked away (well, most things, anyway.) It just doesn’t seem right…especially when they are from someone who meant so very much to you.

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Mrs. Chili June 4, 2009 at 4:34 am

I’m brewing a post about the jewelry that my mother has given me, and about how I can’t bring myself to wear it before she passes.

I often find it shocking how in tune you and I are in our thinking. I really do believe we are sisters of different mothers…

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Manic Mommy June 4, 2009 at 5:36 am

I have little bits from my grandparents as well. We talk about them – and especially my FIL (who died when Andy was 11) and it keeps them alive for all of us.

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Daryl June 4, 2009 at 6:35 am

Another Fashionista in the making .. and a lovely rememberance

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Green Girl in Wisconsin June 4, 2009 at 6:58 am

How sweet to pass that along to her–it keeps your Grandma alive.

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Craig Glenn June 4, 2009 at 7:07 am

Jennifer,

You are such a great story teller. I relived all five of my kids growing up and saw my grandmothers face. She will turn 90 this year. She spent the week with me last week.

Thanks again for sharing your talent with us.

Craig Glenn

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Chris June 4, 2009 at 7:21 am

I have both of my grandmothers’ jewelry boxes. Lots of costume jewelry, nothing particularly valuable, and my boys… love it. They play pirate, and the jewels are their treasures, and sometimes they enjoy wearing the sparkley things.

I imagine the bracelet looks adorable on Elle’s ankle.

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Jenn @ Juggling Life June 4, 2009 at 7:22 am

My youngest daughter was enamored of one of my mom’s cocktail rings from the 70s. She did finally lose it, but like you I’m choosing to remember how much fun she had with it.

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Suzanne June 4, 2009 at 7:37 am

This is the stuff your daughter will remember when someday she has her own daughter and let’s her wear a piece of long discarded jewlery….magic!

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Madge June 4, 2009 at 7:39 am

i love this

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Ree June 4, 2009 at 7:47 am

I can see her twirling. And your gramma smiling. XX

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Jessica June 4, 2009 at 9:05 am

sadly I never really knew my dad’s mom very well and my mom’s mom really was just a not nice person. Beautiful story, yet again

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Heather June 4, 2009 at 10:47 am

Lovely. Really lovely.

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PAPA June 4, 2009 at 11:36 am

My wife wears her grandma’s ring, her mom’s earings and the wedding ring I gave her…three different periods of time….kind of cool if you think about it.

on the other hand, i slept in a bed in germany with a picture of the great grandparents, the grandparents and the parents who had all slept in that bed. a little off topic but kind of funny if you think about it…

btw, the bracelet is lovely. 🙂

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we_be_toys June 4, 2009 at 11:52 am

Sweet – that’s the word that comes to mind as I read this. I love those moments when the immortality of our loved ones brushes past.

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JCK June 4, 2009 at 8:39 pm

It is how we can remember them. Through these pieces of jewelry worn by us and our daughters. Lovely. I miss my grandmothers, too.

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phd in yogurtry June 4, 2009 at 8:43 pm

Your grandmother is dancing right alongside of Elle!

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slouching mom June 5, 2009 at 9:44 am

Sigh. Yes, she’s there.

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nicole h June 5, 2009 at 11:40 am

This makes me think that sometimes time doesn’t exist in a good way.

(I had no idea that Bobbsey twins were a real thing!)

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flutter June 5, 2009 at 5:15 pm

the spirit lives on, doesn’t it?

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Kimberly June 5, 2009 at 7:27 pm

I love this. I can picture your daughter so vividly (and I do believe your grandmother is smiling right alongside her).

I have some things from my grandmother that I fully intend to pass along to my girls when they’re a bit older. It’s so important.

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anymommy June 6, 2009 at 2:29 pm

I love when jewelry is used and worn instead of just hidden in a treasure box. Perfect. Your grandma lives on because she’s remembered every time you see that bracelet on your daughter or it turns up somewhere unexpected.

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rick June 10, 2009 at 1:40 am

It’s funny how the past can reach out to the future in things of little value left behind. ~rick

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Sandi McBride June 10, 2009 at 3:26 am

I laughed when I read this post, but there was such emotion in my heart…I could hear my own grandmother saying to me “what kind of getup do you call that?” I haven’t heard that term in years…your grandmother must be smiling, knowing that even a little piece of jewelry that once graced her wrist can bring such love to the forefront again…congratulations on Post of the Day
Sandi

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Cheryl (Lizzy Frizzfrock) June 10, 2009 at 6:31 am

Great post! Your grandmother would love your words & the fact that you have a long & lovely memory of her!

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Neha June 10, 2009 at 7:33 am

awww…such a sweet post…
seems u were very attached to ur grandmother…and its true that in such things are a thousand memories attached…
i alwways think of my maternal grandfather when I make one of the dishes he loved to make 🙂
its a beautiful post 🙂

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Craig Glenn June 10, 2009 at 7:45 am

Congrats on POTD!

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jinksy June 10, 2009 at 9:11 am

This reminded me of the far off days when I and my school friend would be allowed to raid Mum’s makeup, jewellery, accesories, shoes etc, to create our glamourous get-ups! Well done you, daughter and Gran…

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The Muse June 10, 2009 at 9:49 am

I am here from David’s…so glad I was able to find time to visit, for I have throughly enjoyed myself!

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Willow June 10, 2009 at 11:38 am

Lovely story about the bracelet. I’m reminded of the good decision I made to allow my little one to wear my old prom dresses–how they were loved and worn and torn.

congrats on POTD!

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Louise June 20, 2009 at 5:26 pm

We have so few such things… most too precious to allow for play. I love that she can play with it. I hate it that she never knew her grandmother.

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PaulaW July 11, 2009 at 9:15 pm

Glad I found your blog – and glad you found SongRamp. I can relate to the things you’re posting here. Especially on this particular post … I’ve jumped into Marc’s co-writing project and the very first one is about my grandma. I think we’ve almost nailed down the lyric and Gary will do some music next week maybe. So hopefully we’ll be sharing it soon.

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