I have worn these bracelets for as long as I can remember. While I don’t know when I first started wearing them, there is a charm on one dated 12-25-84. I would have been eleven then. Barely a year older than Caroline is now. How is it that these pieces, that feel so grown up to me, came in to my life when I was Caroline’s age? Time is truly a fleeting thing.
One is pretty thin. It holds only three charms. I am not sure if it has always been that way or if perhaps, I lost some over the years. Holding on to jewelry has never really been a strength of mine so I suppose at one point this bracelet might have been full. Now it has only three. One is a heart with Stacey written on one side and 12-25-84 on the other. Perhaps the start of this nearly 30 year old tradition. Again, how is this possible? And then one with the shield of Lincoln School, the place that was like home to me from 5th through 12th grade. And the third is from Wheelock College the place where my mother learned to become a teacher.
The second bracelet represents the trip I took to Europe after my Junior year of college. My friend Elizabeth and I traveled to what felt like a million countries in two weeks before settling for 6 week in Innsbruck, Austria. On this bracelets hangs, the Eifel Tower, the Tower of London, a beer stein, The Golden Roof and then a few mysterious charms- a shell and a shield both of unknown origin. I wonder if I was organized enough on the trip to find charms as I traveled or if perhaps, these were purchased before or after the fact. I don’t remember but regardless, I am glad to have them.
And then the third is my most treasured. On it, sit many of my grandfather’s cufflinks. When he died my grandmother took his pieces and turned them into gold charm bracelets for my mother and my aunt and silver bracelets for me and my cousin. This is the bracelet that always gets the most attention. When you wear charm bracelets, people seem drawn to touch them like a pregnant belly. They rub the charms between their fingers and clink them together to hear the bell like sound. These charms are the ones that draw the questions and the compliments.
As I answer and tell the stories of the charms, I am drawn back to those times, to those days. I haven’t added to these bracelets ever as an adult. It is only now writing this that I realize. Perhaps this is why they are so treasured. Not a part of today but of then. And of always.