The Power of the Past
I will be wearing her cameo and remembering her smile
My husband would tell you that I am entirely too attached to “things.” Dave is not particularly sentimental. I think I balance his deficit. I like old things which becomes more important daily as we become old ourselves. I love our 132 year old house. I like that it had a history when we bought it more than 20 years ago and I like that we’ve added to that history by marking on the kitchen door jamb the height of the children and grandchildren as they have grown. I love old kitchen utensils. When I use them I think about the women who may have owned them before and the families they fed. I can see them in kitchens of the ‘40s, ‘30s and ‘20s and envision laughing, hungry families.
I attach even more importance to the things I have that have belonged to people I love. I have many things that belonged to my father—his WWII medals, his pipe, a bracelet he crafted while in the Navy with his name and ID number. The things that hold the most significance for me are the pieces of jewelry that have belonged to the significant women in my life. From them I draw strength because they were, for the most part, strong women. From my paternal grandmother I have a few pieces of costume jewelry. From my step-mother I have the engagement ring my father gave her in 1972. From my mother-in-law I have a painted cameo she gave me several years ago. It had been hers. I wore it the last time I saw her as her health was failing and I saw her eyes rest on it and she smiled. She knew I wore it for her.
Sometimes when I have an important appointment that I don’t want to keep, that scares me, I will put on several pieces of my heirloom jewelry and carry these women with me as I do battle with the world. These things become talismans. On September 6th and 7th our family will be memorializing my mother-in-law, Dottie Haeck. This sweet tiny lady raised seven boys and kept her sanity. They are each of them delightful and successful human beings! What a wonderful legacy she leaves behind. I will be wearing her cameo and remembering her smile during the coming weekend as we celebrate her life and bid her farewell.