Last Saturday, seven-eighths of the sister cousins assembled for our Little House/Sex and the City pre-Christmas flirtini party. After some eating, drinking, catching up and viewing of videos on Tiffany’s laptop, we all hunkered down on the living room floor and began a long-overdue project--sorting and doling out Grandma’s jewelry.
Grandma had a lot of jewelry. Some of it has monetary value, some has sentimental value, and a whole lot has neither. Everything was all jumbled together in trays and Ziploc bags and little boxes—earrings, necklaces, bracelets, pins and rings, as well as a pair of cufflinks, two fancy pens in velvety cases, and a pair of somethings that Tiffany identified as shoe buckles.
We sifted through piles of pieces that nobody recognized until, every once in a while, someone would gasp and say, “Oh…” Then they’d hold up the coral ring, or the Christmas tree pin, and we’d reminisce about the dress she always wore with that one, or how she’d wear that pin to church every Christmas Eve. A lot of the things we'd forgotten that we remembered.
The whole collection had been in my uncle’s basement since we cleaned out Grandma’s condo six years ago. My sister Meghan told us that when she picked up the boxes last week, she opened the biggest one, and when she met with the unexpected scent of Grandma’s perfume inside that box, she burst into tears. I knew what she meant. I have a little quilted coin purse that I carried around for months after Grandma died for exactly that reason. It’s in a drawer now, but it still smells like her, faintly.
We started by passing around the bangle bracelets. They took several trips around the room, and everyone ended up with a few. Then we did the same with the rings. If something looked particularly valuable, or if more than one person wanted it, we set it aside for later. But because we all have different tastes and different sized fingers and wrists, for the most part, if somebody found something they thought they’d wear and that fit, it was theirs.
Hours later, we had only divided up about half of the collection, but by then it was nearly 1:00 a.m. and everyone was tired. We put the valuable and contested items back into the box, along with the pieces that nobody was particularly interested in. We’ll have to come back to those the next time everyone is in town. Maybe next Christmas.
And even though we hadn’t planned it, the following night at my parents' house on Christmas Eve, the DemiGoddesses and I each had on one of Grandma’s rings. Molly and Betsy jangled with her bangle bracelets. And both Meghan and Shanna were wearing her earrings.
And we all looked fabulous.