Charming Memories

When my mother passed away I inherited this little jewelry box that had always sat on her night stand. In reality, I think it had probably been her mother's since most of the items dated back long before anything my mother had collected. It was a dusty vault of treasures, not much of value, but filled with memories.

In my grief I put the box away, only taking it out a few years ago. Inside, I found pieces to my past. Pieces I hadn't quite expected. There were broken watches, clasp earrings set with paste stones and colorful brooches designed to highlight just the right outfit. But most precious was the charm bracelet that my mother had left behind. I'd never seen her wear it, but she'd kept it as a reminder of a mother's love.

Ironically, after my mother's passing I started collecting my own charm bracelets, not realizing the connection. The one in the first picture I couldn't resist, with it's majestic crowns, knight's helms and romantic frippery. It was perfect for a romance writer.

Not all charm bracelets are a collection of individual charms. Dangling bobbles and shiny bits were quite common in the 30's, 40's and 50's. This one is a commercially designed charm bracelet with double wire threading and chunky charms that highlight all the things needed for being a successful secretary (at least at that time). It has a bulky telephone, a time clock, a coffee pot and a desk with a sleeping boss across the top.

But it was only when I started digging through my own jewelry box that I remembered my own treasure. This charm bracelet was put together sometime around 1976. I know because the flag charm is a Bicentenial memento. Many of the charms came from our first trip to visit my aunt in North Carolina. There's one for each state we passed through and special Hershey Kiss for the stop we made at Hershey Park.  

To this day I'm still drawn to charm bracelets at yard sales and online. Each is a connection to the past and to the memories of someone who lovingly collected the items piece by piece. Each deserves a bit of reverence for the love that they were given.

What is it that you collect?  

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