Fifty or so years ago Agnes, a close friend of my mom, gave me an afghan made by her recently deceased mother. The afghan was crocheted in shell stitch in shades of deep pink and maroon, heavy and warm, a great blanket to curl up under when reading, and it was now mine. A few years later Agnes gifted me with me some of jewelry. They were lovely pieces and I wore many of them for dressy occasions. A large topaz pendant, a choker necklace with matching shoe adornments that you could put on and take off your shoes. A brooch and matching earrings in a gold and swirl pattern. An Italian cameo. A sparkly bracelet with matching earrings. I loved them and wore them for dress occasions. She also gave me a new afghan she made for me when I bought my first condo. It was light weight and became a favorite.
I took good care of all of these things and considered them mine. Then, a couple of years ago my mom asked me whether I still had the jewelry and afghans, and when I said that I did she told me straight out that those really belonged to the Agnes’ son and that I needed to find him and return them to him, making it very clear that I wasn’t to keep them.
Well, since I don’t have children, it does make sense to return them, and I am in the stage of life where I want to get rid of “stuff”. Nevertheless, the idea of returning the jewelry and afghans had not occurred to me. Agnes had passed away some years before and I’d had no contact with her son for at least 45 years, but mom put it to me not as an idea or suggestion gently mentioned, but rather an urgent need to be handled very soon. Mom would ask me often whether I had located the son and I would tell her “no” and then she would give me ideas on how to find him, mentioning other people who might have known him in high school. To slow her down I told her (truth) that I was looking all over the house to be sure I found all the pieces of jewelry.
Recently, using Facebook, I located Agnes’ granddaughter. I contacted her and got an address, then boxed the afghans and jewelry and sent it to her. Part of me is happy that I returned the items because they are family heirlooms, part of me misses one of the afghans because it was a favorite and a necklace I wore the night I met my husband, and part of me, the inner child perhaps, heard an underlying message that I didn’t deserve to have those things.
Now they are gone. Gone back to the family from whence they came. Somewhere, a child has in her hands afghans made by her great-grandmother and great-great-grandmother, and her/his parents have classic costume jewelry. When I wrote to confirm that the items had been received I was told that indeed they had arrived safely and thanks. That was it. Thanks. Did I expect more?
Maybe the hollow spot I’m experiencing is that the items meant so much to me because I knew the younger, lively Agnes. Agnes made my eighth grade graduation dress in yellow chiffon and lace. She taught me to knit. She sometimes took me with her on outings during the summer. The families shared holidays. When she moved some distance away I would drive mom there for visits. When Agnes moved out of state we wrote to each other.
Maybe I will write and tell her family about those things and times and how much she meant to me.
Every Day Is A Good Day. VJ