Saturday, November 9, 2013

The Little Rose Gold Ring

In November of 1933, a little girl named Clarice was given a ring for her tenth birthday. Her mother, Marie, had picked it out.

It was a delicate little rose gold ring. A simple band with almost no shoulder and a bezel shaped to look like an intricate flower. In the center of the flower sat not a gem, but a tiny seedling pearl.

Clarice was Marie's only daughter. Born 15 months after her brother, Reid, who adored her dearly. However, Clarice was sick. She had juvenile diabetes in an era where insulin was still a new discovery and it wouldn't be until she was twelve-years-old that scientists would discover that there were two different types of diabetes.

And, maybe because she was sick, that little rose gold ring made for a child fit her finger until she passed at the age of eighteen.

Marie held on to the ring after her daughter died.

Reid never forgot his beloved sister. When he and his wife had their first child, Reid felt that they should have another child as soon as possible, in hopes that the children would be as close as he and Clarice had been. As it would happen, fifteen months later in November, Reid's son had a little sister.

When that little girl turned ten-years-old, Marie gifted her eldest granddaughter with that little rose gold ring. The girl loved the ring. She cherished it and the connection to the aunt she never knew other than by the love her father and grandmother expressed for her. 

However, by the time she was in college, the ring only fit her pinky finger. She eventually came to the conclusion to resize the ring, realizing that it would still be the same ring, in the end.

And when her eldest daughter turned ten, she gifted the ring to her child, telling the story of how she came to own it and the connection to the original owner. The daughter kept the ring for a few years, but soon gave it back to her mother. By then, it was the 90s and silver was becoming much more popular than gold in the eyes of teenage girls.

So, when her younger daughter turned ten, once again in November, the ring was given to that girl as well. The story of the original owner all the owners since Clarice were told to the younger daughter, who eagerly took the chance to cherish the ring and the history with it.

The younger daughter wore the ring frequently. Panicking briefly when, just a few months after inheriting the ring, the little seedling pearl disappeared while she was at school. She was terrified to tell her mother that she lost the pearl, but when she admitted what had happened, her mother soothed her worries. The ring was over 60 years old. The pearl had been loose in the setting for years and it wasn't the girl's fault that it fell out.

They found a jeweler and had a new pearl placed in it. The girl fretted over how ostentatiously white and glossy the new pearl looked in comparison to the old pearl, but eventually came to accept it was still the same ring.

The girl wore the ring frequently well into her twenties, despite how it didn't quite match the rest of her jewelry by that time. However, after a couple cross-country moves, she realized she no longer had the ring in her jewelry box. This would not have been too much of an issue, other than for personal grief, other than the fact that her older sister had a young daughter.

As her niece grew closer and closer to her tenth birthday, she dreaded the fact that she couldn't pass the ring on to the next generation. She also feared the day her mother would ask about the ring and if she was going to give it to the younger girl. But her mother never asked, giving the impression that maybe she was the only one that remembered the ring and Clarice's story.

Then, on the niece's 10th birthday- another November, in fact- they all had dinner together. And when the niece arrived at the restaurant, she was wearing a fine gold chain around her neck which held the delicate rose gold ring upon it.

You see, the aunt had not lost the ring in her cross-country move. In fact, when she saw the move coming on the horizon, she had asked her mother to take back the ring, so that it would be safe until the niece was ten and could be gifted with it as well. She had just forgotten she had done so.

And, earlier on that day, the ten-year-old's grandmother had gifted the ring for the third time, as she had intended to do for years. Once again telling the story of Clarice, of Marie giving it to her, and how she gave it to her daughters. She had no idea that her daughter had been riddled with guilt for so long about the ring, afraid to admit that she had lost it and ended the tradition.

So, the ring once again has a ten-year-old to belong to. It does not yet fit on this ten-year-old's finger, but it will eventually (or will be resized, eventually). And, maybe by the time the ring is a century old, she will pass it on to a ten-year-old of her own.

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