I wish I’d remembered to take a photo of my childhood jewelry box. When I was about 8 I wanted one with a ballet dancer who twirled en pointe when you opened the box—all the rage at the time. Instead, my parents gave me one painted with French poodles sitting at a cafe table in Paris sharing a malt. It had bright flowers on the side, and when you opened it you heard “La Vie en Rose.” (The box coordinated with the French Provincial-inspired headboard on my bed though I didn’t understand that until years later). I loved my jewelry box, even after I bought a large one as an adult. When I lifted the lid the song brought back to me my childhood room in the country. I tenderly released it to the donation pile only a year or two ago.
I still have the Lake Superior agate pendant I got on Madeline Island at about the same time, a memento of my first trip to the island, the wonder I felt there and my awe of Lake Superior. I felt so grownup to have a real stone necklace, and I wore it a few months later for my fifth grade school picture.
Other than writing or art, I have kept only one other item from my childhood. Why, when I have tossed practically all of the rest of my history, have I saved for 60 years Miss October, a little ceramic girl holding a dog?
Why, when my birthday is in July, not October?
Why, when I’ve never been fond of either “girlie” trinkets or ceramics?
Why, when she’s clad in brown and white, and I love bright colors and associate October with reds, yellows, golds and burgundy?
Why, when she’s holding a little black dog and I’ve always preferred cats to dogs?
Because she has black hair, which I always coveted? But not so much any more.
Because Mom gave her to me (my mom loved ceramics)? Though I gave away many things Mom gave me over the years.
Because she adorned my first bedroom separate from my brothers, a room that was special to me, that I carefully decorated, and that I spent many daylight hours in? Yet I have donated everything else from that room (which was white, yellow and orange).
Because after seeing her on my various dressers over so many years I couldn’t ask her to leave? Yet other things as old, and more useful—like my jewelry box—I have released.
Because I still see her—often inspect her, though dispassionately, greet her in a way? I must find something pleasing about her still, even if she doesn’t excite me.
Would the dresser feel incomplete without her? (I think maybe.) Would I? (I doubt it.)
Have I kept her because she has something to say to me? (I doubt that too.)
About me? Maybe, but try as I might, I haven’t figured that out.
For now, that she’s still with me is a mystery.
Trivial, perhaps, but even trivial mysteries intrigue me.
Are there things from your childhood that you keep but don’t understand why?
I have a charm bracelet given to me by my grandparents when I was involved in a Masonic ceremony pinning a medal on my grandfather. The charm has a silhouette of Jesus that appears through the milky white charm when you hold it up to the light. As a child I was fascinated by this. It still fascinates me – especially since I haven’t been a Christian for decades. But it is no mystery why I save it. It reminds me of how much I was cherished by my loving grandparents. They were as much the “apple of my eye” as I was theirs! Thanks for the opportunity to tell this story Anne!
Thank YOU Holli for sharing it! I’d love to see that sometime.
I carried with me, an incredible rock. It has a shape and design like none other. It’s a mystery to me why I have had it for so long. It is a joy to me.
Wow, if it is a joy to you and “incredible,” why WOULDN’T you save it? Is the mystery why it gives you such joy? Very cool Nancy!
We shared the same hair stylist!! Also, the expression on Miss Octobers face us priceless. Such a strong personality.
Love to you always,
Lucky you to have the same stylist 🙂 Yes, she does look rather strong-minded, doesn’t she (maybe stubborn)? Maybe I resonated with that…
Thanks for commenting Amy!