It arrived in the mail.
I opened it and a broken strand of old garnet chips fell out, along with a note from my mom, ‘Your dad had these hanging around. They’re not worth anything.‘
My first thought was that mom was wrong – the strand of old garnets did not sit lightly on my fingers – they had the weight of history on them.
Feeling there was more to them than my mom realized I restrung them into two different necklaces.
Necklace and earrings of old garnet chips, horn, agate and bone with a turtle pendant made of shell.
Necklace and earrings with garnet chips, glass and enameled beads.
Later, when I went back home, I questioned my parents about the ‘not-worth-anything garnet-strand’, “So what’s the story?”
Mom did a little twitchy thing, “Who knows? They’re your dad’s.”
Dad piped up, “They were Frank’s.”
Mom, surprised, “My Dad?”
Dad, “He bought them for your mom when he was in France during the war.”
She’s totally unsentimental which is probably the reason her father (and my grandfather) gave them to my dad – he knew his daughter would just toss away what was probably the most significant gift he had ever bought for his future wife – a strand of worn garnet chips from the war-torn France where he fought for over four years.
Now when I wear the necklaces I feel my grandfather very close to me.