I have been accused on more than one occasion of lacking sentimentality. And while the accusers happened to include an ex-husband and a current mother-in-law, I still take it to heart. What they don’t happen to know is that I’m what you call a closet-sentimentalist. You may not see a shadow-box with the receipt and chopsticks wrapper from our first-date dinner hanging on my wall, but I do hold onto items that are precious to my heart – romantic cards, concert tickets, and even my pregnancy tests (the ones from my daughter...).
I also, for some reason that I have yet to figure out, hold onto old jewelry. You would think that a girl who on a rather regular basis purges her closets and drawers of any items not worn in the past year would do the same with her jewelry box. Maybe it’s because I don’t have much jewelry and if I did empty out that damn box (which is not really a box but more-so the entire top surface of my dresser and the remains of a severely damaged jewelry container nearly lost during a late-pregnancy meltdown), I would have nothing left in there. But, most likely, it’s because the each piece holds little memories, of myself and others, and I couldn’t bare seeing some person walking around on the street with something that at one point in time was very dear to my heart.
With that said, I rarely wear jewelry. I have about four pieces that are in regular rotation and maybe four others that come out on special occasions (like going to a store that does not sell food or eating a restaurant that does not have a drive-thru window). And even more rarely do I dig down in that box of mine to take a look at what I’ve collected. I know the memories are there – and I’m perfectly fine leaving them tucked away.
Well, it seems as though my curious 20-month old happened upon said box yesterday and her little sticky fingers found their way onto all of my jewelry. Nothing I have is very valuable – and to be honest with you, I was happy that she found something to occupy her time that didn’t involve a small somewhat androgynous clown kid and a green frog. But nothing will send you right back to 1989 than your little toddler sporting a few plastic neon bangles and a sterling silver I LOVE YOU filigree necklace.
Just when I thought I had reasonable control over my bowels, she then hands me two very large, shoulder skimming hoop earrings – of which I proudly sported under my newly coiffed bob and Jeanette Garofolo bangs in 1997. And, as if she felt my tortured mind raging outward, she handed me my lovely red leather cuff (with snaps and studs, of course) and a very golden ring with a diamond the size of a beetle turd – a sad excuse for a birthday gift in 1994.
Seeking refuge from the flood of rather average memories of boyfriends past, I handed her my husband’s box of jewelry past. I have to say that seeing his large golden chain and square D pendant (filigree and all) circa 1991 ala Run DMC made me feel way better. But, the playboy bunny stud earring nearly sent me over the edge.
So what is it about jewelry that holds so many memories and speaks so loudly about our past? Perhaps it’s the fact that most jewelry, particularly the costume jewelry, is representative of certain fads from certain times. Or maybe it’s that we received the jewelry as a special gift – and thus associate it with that memory. Well, whatever the reason, I know that the ghost of my jewelry past had a lot to say. Too bad I couldn’t hear anything through the damn jangling of 14 skinny gold-plated bangles and 8 silver puzzle rings.