17: Grandma’s Necklace

17: Grandma’s Necklace

From Chicken Soup for the Soul: Grand and Great

Grandma’s Necklace

I ran up the stairs to Grandma Flemming’s porch as fast as my three-year-old legs would carry me. Slipping on the wet porch, I fell and cut my eyebrow on a glass milk bottle waiting to be picked up by the milkman. Loving arms enfolded me, “There, there, it will be alright. We’ll make it all better.” Those are the first memories I have of my mother’s mother.

Not many years after that event my grandparents moved away from Ohio to Indiana, where my grandfather would pastor a succession of small churches until he retired. Grandma remained a very special person in my life in spite of the fact that I didn’t see her as often as I would have liked. I have many happy, poignant memories of her funny, cackling laugh; her high nasal voice; spending several weeks with her one summer; the glass cabinet where she kept her collection of knick-knacks and novelty salt and pepper shakers; and her house near the railroad tracks. One Christmas, the rumbling of the train in the early-morning hours brought the nine-foot Christmas tree crashing to the floor!

Grandma died near the end of my senior year of high school after a long battle with cancer. As the oldest grandchild and granddaughter, I inherited two things from Grandma: her wedding ring and a silver necklace given to her the year she was born.

When I got married only a few months after her death, my husband placed Grandma’s wedding ring on my finger as Grandpa officiated. I wore the necklace rather reluctantly, only because it meant so much to my mother. The filigree daisy pattern had a diamond in the center. The chain was tarnished and tangled.

After our wedding I placed the necklace in a jewelry box and, quite honestly, I didn’t think much about it for years. Then two things happened in rapid succession that made me reconsider the necklace: My older daughter, Susan, gave birth to her first child, Christine, and my marriage of twenty-four years ended.

Going through my things in the process of the divorce, I came across the necklace. For a minute I couldn’t even remember where I had gotten it. Then I remembered Grandma. I bought a new chain to replace the tangled and tarnished one, and, had the pendant cleaned at the jewelers. I was amazed at the beauty of the little necklace. As I took off the wedding ring, I began wearing the necklace, and, I lovingly recalled my grandmother.

I saw my granddaughter often and babysat from the time I finished teaching until her mother came home from work at midnight, five days a week. She grew from an infant to a toddler to a little girl, and she loved the “flower necklace,” as she called it. Since she is my oldest granddaughter, I let her know that, just as I had gotten the necklace from my grandmother, someday the “pretty flower” would be hers.

Christine is nearly twelve years old now, and growing into a young lady. I’m not going to wait until I die to pass this legacy on to her. The necklace will be one hundred years old the year Christine turns nineteen. I will pass her great-great-grandmother’s necklace on to her, knowing she, too, will look back on happy, poignant memories.

~Carol Spahr
Chicken Soup for the Grandma’s Soul

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