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.
LOVE this! I was given my aunt’s treasured charm bracelets when she passed away. I love to wear them and hear the sound of them tinkling on my wrist. Your grandmother’s idea to turn cufflinks into charm bracelets — how sweet and meaningful!
Write about them?
I don’t see the charm I always remember…the one that was a thimble, and there was a rolled up dollar bill in it for emergencies? Love the bracelets.
Hi Meg!!! Isn’t it sad? I don’t remember when, but I did loose that one. Ironic, right!? First the top fell off and then the whole thing. I actually meant to write something about it in this post… Hope you, Adam and the girls are well!
stacey! after getting your comment on my blog i realized that i, too, had lost yours in the shuffle. so glad to reconnect (virtually, anyway!) this post resonated with me … i, too, have a charm bracelet that i first received in college and have been adding to ever since. when my grandmother died a decade or so ago, as the oldest granddaughter i was given first choice of any jewelry of hers. i hemmed and hawed but ultimately decided on her charm bracelet — it was the very essence of HER. i moved all of her charms that also related to me (the coloseum from rome, a little swiss chalet that actually opens and reveals a small bed with people in it, etc) and moved them to my bracelet, and kept her bracelet to pass down to susanna when she’s old enough. i’m actually close to running out of links now but i still love adding to it … it’s perhaps the most tangible summary of my life (and my grandmother’s, too, come to think of it) that i have.