Charms

Dec. 15th, 2005 at 6:38 AM
I wasted an unusual amount of time last night surfing around on ebay looking for silver charms. Many years ago, I had a silver charm bracelet… in fact, I’d had it all my life. In college, someone broke into my apartment and stole it and a few other things as well and, while I was furious, there wasn’t much to be done about replacing it.

Ebay has changed that.

The problem is that, while I can find several of the charms I cherished, the mexican sombrero is not the one my Dad’s friend brought me when I was 3… the viking ship is not the same one Anne got me in Iceland… the matador and fan aren’t the ones I bought for in a little backstreet shop in Spain where I couldn’t speak to the shop keeper at all (he spoke Spanish and Italian and I spoke English and French… we haggled in sign language. And yes, I did haggle!) Others I’d like to have back are the Italian silver St Terese roses and the miraculous medal that Andy gave me when we were about 4 or 5, the L’arc de Triomphe that I bought in Paris because I said I would never have an Eiffle Tower and the thistle someone brought me from Scotland. The ones I’m finding are not as detailed or as pretty as the ones I had.

On the other hand, I woke up this morning and realized that, while I would never have gotten rid of it, I am not really a charm bracelet kind of person. I do too much with my hands and I would almost never wear it. So it’s foolish to go looking to replace something that a) I can’t replace and b)I would never use.

Bother.

Dec. 16th, 2005 at 12:19 AM

I was looking in the wrong place.

Tonight, I found quite a few of the charms that went missing… Including the two that were bought for me before I was born (turns out that they’re catholic St Therese medals which means they’re quite common). And the ship that Anne got me… and my L’arc de Triomphe (or however you spell it). I think I even found my fan (the matador is going to be a bitch to find, though). And, frankly, some of the charms I had don’t bear replacing.

What happened? I looked at the ones I still had (I hadn’t put them on the bracelet yet when it was stolen) and figured up the important ones that I actually wanted to replace and I had more than I was missing.

Plus I have a date in the future (the far future) to go walking in England. If I have no charm bracelet, what will I do with all the charms I won’t be able to help buying as souvenirs?

So I changed my mind. I’m a girl, I’m allowed to do that sometimes. Besides, now I’m really easy to shop for!

There’s a charm on my bracelet that is of an oyster that opens to a pearl. In 1968, my parents took me and my brother on the train to New Orleans from Nashville. It was a sleeper train so we got to spend the night in the bunk beds. When we got there, they took us, at some point, to an oyster bar on Bourbon Street. Since I was 4, I refused to eat the raw oysters (some things never change), I didn’t smoke and I wasn’t allowed to drink in public yet. So I went over and watched the man at the oyster bar shucking the oysters. I’d been there for several minutes when he told me “Hold out your hand, cheré.” I did and he put a pearl that he’d just found in it. I brought it home and Mom had a friend of hers set it in silver and hung it on a chain for me. It’s the thing I remember most about New Orleans.

There is a beetle on my bracelet… that opens to four Beatles singing “Yeah Yeah Yeah”. This is a recent addition but it has a looong back story. When I was very small, the Beatles were all the rage. Not ever being one to follow the crowd, I had no use for them for two reasons. First, I heard them compared with my favorite band, the Monkees. to the Monkees’ detriment. Second, I had to wear, every week on Saturday, one of their sweatshirts with an awful pair of olive drab polyester peg leg pants… the kind with seams sewn up the front to imitate creases. So I hated them for years. Then I heard Paperback Writer on the radio when I was about 11 and decided it wasn’t fair to hate a band without ever listening to them. I am glad I have my extreme youth to blame for not realizing how good they were back in the day… but in 1964, I was only 1. They are still not my favorite band, that honour goes to a-ha, but they come in a close second.

Today I have a charm of a coffee cup… which is self explanatory, really. I started drinking coffee when I was 13. I remember, because one of my mother’s co-workers gave me a coffee cup as a birthday present.

The tricornered hat from Colonial Williamsburg. We ate at a period restaurant… which was very good… and every single person on the trip (about 40 kids and teachers… it was a school sponsored Spring Break trip) except me got food poisoning. I must have the fabled cast iron stomach. I thoroughly enjoyed Williamsburg!

This is a kind of boring addition to my bracelet. It’s Mt Vernon… which I have visited on the same trip that we went to the Smithsonian and Colonial Williamsburg and Monticello… all of which I found more interesting than Mt Vernon. At the Smithsonian, one boy came up to me and asked me where I was from and when I told him, he asked me if I was used to wearing shoes yet. I still feel I should have cold-cocked him for that!

This is a charm of Notre Dame. When I was in Paris at 15, I actually went to Easter Mass at Notre Dame. They have little vendors inside the cathedral (although, thankfully, not in the nave) and at the time I bought a little Mary medal to go on my charm bracelet. It was stolen (the whole bracelet) while I was in college and this is one of the replacement charms. Since I couldn’t have the actual medal I bought there, I decided I’d rather have a building charm of the cathedral than a random Mary medal. A much more interesting charm, I think.

This is (obviously) a charm of Winnie-ther-Pooh. Not only was he one of my first books but he was one of my first stuffed animals. Which I still have. And people tell me I’m a bit like Pooh… one of them went so far as to get me copies of The Tao of Pooh and The Te of Piglet. I guess I am a bit tao in my outlook… I never really thought about it until it was mentioned to me.

This one is for my high school… which was Father Ryan, not Notre Dame but the fighting Irishman was our mascot. I can deal with the variance, myself, since I am perfectly certain that I’ll never get a fighting Irishman wearing purple or saying “Father Ryan”.

I finally caved and got a hobbit for my charm bracelet. I really need to consider how I want the charms on there and if I possibly want more than one (to wear together by times even). I could split it up into travel/events/hobbies. Some of them would overlap, of course, but it’s my record so I get final say. This is one charm that I think needs no explanation!

And I think this charm needs no explanation either… not if you know me at all!

I notice that I have the very best luck with smellies when I can’t smell a thing at all. A long time ago, when I was in Paris, I had a horrible head cold… a lot like the one I have now. I could not smell, not nothing, not no how. And there was a tour of a perfume factory on our itinerary. This was delightful until we got to the gift shop at the end and I couldn’t smell anything to know what I wanted to buy! So I got one because it was a beautiful bottle shaped like a rose, three tiny bottles of Santal and a small bottle of Muguet for my mother. The rose shaped bottle turned out to be Si Jolie which is one of my favorite rose perfumes, the santal was the best sandalwood I’d ever smelled up until that time and the Muguet was… muguet. Which I love. On the way out, I stopped at a street vendor and bought the charm I had told everyone I was going to get in Paris:

L’Arc de Triumph

Mostly because when I told people I was going to Paris in the spring, they would comment “Oh, you’ll have to get an Eiffel Tower for your charm bracelet”. Now, I think the Eiffel Tower is one of the ugliest structures on the planet, so I would indignantly reply “No, I won’t! I’m going to get a L’Arc de Triumph!” (In some ways, I was rebellious in my teens… it was just not as obnoxious as to be very noticeable.)

I got the original of this in a little back shop in Madrid along with a matador. When I was 15, I had the chance to go to Madrid and Paris… possibly the only time in my life I will ever get the chance to go so far away from home… and I enjoyed every minute of it.

Since I don’t speak Spanish, I had a bit of a time haggling for these two. The shop keeper didn’t speak English… or French and I didn’t speak Spanish or Italian… so we haggled in sign language! I pointed out the charms I wanted and put money down on the counter. He indicated that it was much more… I put down a little more… he came down but not that much etc. We both had fun at it. He was inclined to be a bit snooty about not speaking English… but much less when I asked if he spoke French. After that, he didn’t treat me so much like a tourist and was willing to work with me.

The charms themselves I bought for events there. We went to a flamenco dance one night… very pretty and energetic… and they served all you could drink Sangria. The real stuff with fruit floating in the pitcher. I think I was the only one besides the tour guide who didn’t have too much that night… but I didn’t want to spoil a day of my trip being hung over (this was before I discovered that I don’t get hang overs).

The other one was for the bull fight we went to see. I only stayed for the first one… then I left by myself and took the subway home. It was awful… I hated to see them kill the poor bull.

The other event that left a lasting impression on me in Madrid was one day at breakfast. I was sitting alone and drinking wine with my croissant (it was a lot less expensive than more coffee or soda or just about anything else) and reading. A man in uniform sat down at my table and spoke to me.

Now, since I don’t speak Spanish, I had to call an interpreter over… the man was proposing to me! I objected on all kinds of logical reasons why this was a bad idea and he kept refuting them… so I finally just told the interpreter to tell him no, flat no thank you, please leave. I later learned that he was quite serious… he was an officer in the Spanish military and liked the idea of me as a wife. (Not sure why…) I don’t have a charm for that… what on earth could I have come up with to commemorate that particular morning?

In case the picture is too small to tell, this is JFK in a rocking chair. I was only 3 months old when Kennedy was shot so I don’t remember his administration but the effects of it were prevalent throughout my early childhood. He is still my favorite president to date.

Today (May 25,2009), while out and about with [info]cborotenor, we drove past a Burma Shave ad. !!!!! This must be one of the very last ones in existance:
He tried / To cross / As fast train neared / Death didn’t draft him / He volunteered / Burma-Shave

We were going to the Tennessee Valley Railroad Museum (which included a pretty terrific short excursion train ride) and after, I looked in vain for something with the original Chessie Cat mascot but could only find a magnet with the most recent outline logo. So I settled on a railman’s lantern for my charm bracelet which was pretty neat.

Apr. 28th, 2010 at 10:15 PM

I have an irritation on the charms front- I’ve been wearing my charm bracelets to work… and I lost Jonathon! Now, this is not major- but it’s still annoying. I think I should take them all to Michael and have him weld the charms in place like I do for Emily’s.

The thing is, I really don’t want to have them missing for very long and Michael takes a long time to do anything… and then I have to take it back every time I want a new charm put on. I think I’ll call Saturday and see how busy he is. If he could do it while we wait, that might be more doable. (It also means I won’t be able to move charms around… which could or could not be a problem.) It’s actually the split rings that are being difficult- and they’re supposed to be more secure than jump rings.

Bother, bother, bother.

Wok: This is a three prong charm.
1) My Dad cooked- a lot (he had to… he worked 2nds so Mom wasn’t at home to make his lunch or pack his supper. And all my memories of Dad cooking are in the summer because I was still in school in the winter when he left for work). And mostly, he cooked Chinese. All my summer memories of him cooking, he wasn’t grilling or bar-b-quing like most dads- he was stir-frying.
2) When we ate out on the weekends, we would usually eat Chinese. Dad would talk in Mandarin to the servers which tickled them and we would order one dish apiece (four of us) and then share about. We tried to have one person order a beef dish, one a chicken dish, one a seafood dish and one a pork or vegetarian dish so we got a good sample of everything. One time, we were eating out and there was a commotion at the next table. We looked over and we were seated next to Johnny Cash and his family. Mom hissed at us not to stare so we politely left them alone.
3)The third memory I have concerning woks was in second grade. We had a student teacher from Taiwan (I don’t remember his name) and one day he made lunch for us all in the classroom and taught us how to eat with chopsticks, a skill I have retained to this day.

This is a replacement for my two oldest charms. When my mom was pregnant with me, the son of her friend went to Italy. He brought her back two of these charms, blessed by the Pope (John XXIII). He told her that one of them was for her and one of them was for me, if I was a girl. If I was a boy, they were both for her. Since my Mom is not one for charms, she gave them both to me although I did not get them until I was a bit older (babies have such a bad habit of putting small shiny things in their mouths). So, obviously, I don’t remember ever not having these two- one on each side of Andy’s slider charm. When I went to replace the charms that were stolen, I could only find one. All things considered, I’m overjoyed to have found even one, though!

When I was about 4 or 5, the boy next door gave me this charm for my bracelet. I have always loved pink roses and it has been one of my most treasured charms… partly for the beauty and partly for the gift. I didn’t realize until many many years later how much he liked me then. His name is Andy Wehby and we lived next door for years… and were friends a lot longer than that. It was at his house that I made the mistake of drinking from a creek and washing my face in it… and got poison ivy in my eyes and down my throat as well as all over my face. I spent my 10th birthday at the doctor for it.

Our friendship did not start so well… the day we moved into our new house next to them, Andy came and sat on my swing. I bit him, on the stomach. Ok, I was a mean kid. At the time, he still had a lisp and I remember telling my mother that Andy would be my friend if he could talk plain. He also played with my dolls as much as I did.

In later years we swang together on the tire swing, played kick-the-can together, climbed trees and monkey bars and had mock orange wars. His sisters were my frequent baby sitters and from time to time we even got the rare treat of a sleep over.

In spite of that, when we ended up in the same grade of the same high school, we were friendish but had different interests by then. I was into math and science and drama and gaming… he was the class president our last year as well as the quarterback on the football team.

So when I hear the phrase “the boy next door” Andy is who I think of.

This is a replacement charm. The original was brought to me by [info]zenkitty-714-the-lovely from her summer trip to Germany. I’d love to go there one day myself but until then, her descriptions of her vacation were the next best thing to being there myself. I love the charm because it reminds me of her as well as of Germany!

This is a new charm for a lot of old events. Living in Tennessee, my family used to frequently vacation in the Great Smoky Mountains and we always saw black bears. Once, on a gypsy trip from camp, I laid in my sleeping bag under the bus and watched three black bear cubs devour our breakfast for the next day. They were so cute, I didn’t mind going hungry the next morning very much. And, more recently, there have been sightings of black bears less than half a mile from my house. Bears in Tennessee will hopefully always be a fact of life… if, perhaps, not so alarmingly close.

This is a charm from Valerie’s wedding. She actualy gave us a charm (and a hand-embroidered by her linen handkerchief) but it was a gold charm so I bought this one to hang on my bracelet in memory of the event… and more so, the preparations for it! She got married right after college (she was a year ahead of me) and we spent a good portion of exam week divided between study and making mints and cake roses. I spent my spring break helping my Mom make the dress… which I later deconstructed to make a blouse for myself and used the rest of it to make a Sapphire princess halloween costume for Eliz which Emily has inherited. We’ve gotten a lot of mileage out of that dress!

Here is a picture of all of the bridesmaids in our dresses. Valerie wanted a rainbow wedding and her sister, as maid of honour, would be wearing the violet. The rest was up for discussion and just about everybody put in dibs on blue except me. I told her that it was her wedding and I would wear anything she wanted me to… she was the one that should chose our colours, not be told what someone would or would not wear. For this bit of empowerment as well as being the one willing to help with stuff like lingerie shopping for her wedding night, and holding onto the ring over night for her husband to be (and not loosing it in all the confusion!) and other, more personal, matters, she assigned me the blue dress. So I’m the short one in blue in the back. I’m short because the dresses were supposed to be floor length and Mom and I made a mistake and made it ankle length… so I’m wearing satin ballet flats instead of heels like everyone else.

Brent brought me this cartouche from Cairo, Egypt from his summer trip when we were in college. He also brought me one of my favorite perfumes- Secret of the Desert. Since until recently it was only available in a little shop in Cario which made getting more very difficult after I ran out. I was very pleased when he brought me the cartouche, partly for the thought behind it (he was thinking of me, after all) and partly because he was back after 3 months. Because of the post at the time, I’d only had two letters that got through all summer and he hadn’t got any of mine at all. In many ways, Brent was a great boyfriend… since we both knew it was only a temporary attachment, we had a lot of fun without worrying about the obvious problems that would have cropped up if we’d planned to stay together.

This is one of the charms that I had bought… simply because it’s one of my favorite pieces of art and I found it at a flea market while out shopping with Charles. It was not on my charm bracelet when it was stolen, I hadn’t gotten around to adding it, and so it’s one of the few original charms I have left.

This is a replacement charm. The year I went to Paris, my school chum Ann went to Germany (same year that [info]zenkitty-714-the-lovely went to Germany too, I think… it was a good year for fabulous young things to go to Europe). Fortunately, she didn’t get me a charm in Germany… she got one when they stopped over in Iceland. I don’t remember what charm I brought her from France but she got me this… because it was a Viking ship. It reminds me of the Narnian Dawn Treader… which is my favorite book of Narnia… as well as all the fun times I had with Ann while we were in school together. Our senior year, she and I spent a lot of time together since we were the entire annual staff.

Nobody got me a charm for either graduation so I got myself one. My high school graduation was typical if a bit low key… no wild parties for the gang of friends that I hung around with then, we weren’t the type. My college graduation was unattended except for my mother (plenty of people were there, just no one else for me) and I don’t even think we went out to lunch afterward. Part of it was that I graduated early, in August, so most of my friends were still in school and couldn’t attend and part of it was that it really was no big deal to me. There was never a question of whether or not I would graduate, just when. What I am proud of is that I finished college in a bit over three years with a four year degree and I paid for it myself. Looking back, I would probably opt for the working and going to school option and get the degree I really wanted… then perhaps I’d be working in my field instead of avoiding it.

I have visited Disney theme park (in Orlando) only once when I was 8. They still had the different ‘ticket’ rides so I have intimate and personal knowledge of what constitutes an “E ticket ride”. I remember that the park was very large, very hot and the lines were mostly long. I liked Space Mountain a lot… partly because for some reason it was a “free” ride and partly because it was dark and cool as well as fascinating… and I liked the Haunted Mansion. I even got (and still have) the vinyl album of the Haunted Mansion from the gift shop. When the movie with Eddie Murphy came out, I was delighted to see how many of the features I remembered from the ride were incorporated into it… especially the hitch-hiking ghosts. What I didn’t get was a charm…, so when I happened upon this one at the same flea market I found the “David” at, I snatched it up and this is the original one. I didn’t have to replace it either since it wasn’t yet attached to my bracelet when it was stolen. Sometimes, procrastination is a good thing!

This charm could be for Beal Street in Memphis but when I bought it, I was thinking of Bourbon Street in New Orleans. Or it could be Rive Gauché in Paris. It could also be Printer’s Alley in Nashville, where I spent quite a lot of time when I was little. So.. charm for a random party street in a random town on a random evening, yeah, I’m there! (Although now, I do want to sleep in the next morning! I’m a bit old for the party all night and keep going stuff now.)

I love building charms, I really do. This is one I like especially because it really does look like the house that you go to in Springfield as Lincoln’s Home. I went with a school group in 9th grade… we had a spring break trip that included Springfield, partly because one of the teachers was from Springfield. (Mr Springman… I did not like him and he did not like me- intelligence in girls was something to be frowned on- but I did like his hometown.) I love old things and I love learning about how things used to be done… it’s not something I can put into words but it’s like a negation of time for a tiny minute.

This is my other favorite piece of sculpture. I don’t know why, because I’m not all that fond of the story, but I love this piece in all it’s incarnations. It makes me sad when people deface it or break it or steal bits of it.. leave it alone and let the world enjoy it! One day, I hope to see it in person for myself.

This one actually has a story behind it. When I was little, I went to summer camp at Marymount (Fairview Tn) and the senior campers (ages 13-15) got to go on three day camping trips away from camp called Gypsy Trips. One of our Gypsy Trips was to Mammoth Cave. We got to sleep over night in the cave and they took us on what was called the “wild tour” which meant we got to explore (with supervision) parts of the cave not open to the general public. At one point, they had us crawl through this pipe shaped hole. When I came out the other end, the tour guide looked at my face and exclaimed “My God! What’s wrong? You’re pale as a ghost!” I grinned up at her as I crawled out and said “It’s nothing, I’m claustrophobic but I just don’t let it stop me.” And you know what? Lights out in a cave is really really daaaark! I had a blast.

To me, this is obviously Mikhail Baryshnikov. I took ballet for a long time when I was little (no, I was never any good) and I had a distinct crush on Baryshnikov. Why did I take ballet for so long when my dance teacher kept telling me how dreadful I was? Because when I was born, my hip joints were still liquid. The doctor that delivered me told my Mom I would never be able to walk. My pediatrician told her “she doesn’t know she’s not supposed to be able to walk… when she gets on her feet, put her in ballet” So Mom did and it was many years before I found out the story of why. Oddly enough, I walked every where and for every thing until I was 27… and I still walk a good bit even now and I’m still awfully limber for a forty *mumble mumble* year old.

Of course, I saved a summer charm to post about until it wasn’t really summer any more. This is the nature of charms, you only see them after the fact.

Obviously, it’s a crate of oranges. From Florida (I’ve always lived on the East Coast). When I was little, our family vacations were almost always to Florida- one beach or another, they were all much the same to me. The only Florida trip that ever stood out in my mind was the one to St Augustine, which has it’s own charm. So this charm is for the hours and hours of trying not to get car sick, spotting horses (Mom paid us a penny apiece for every horse we could spot- in theory, it kept us from fighting. She also paid a penny for waterfalls in the mountains… and a dollar apiece for kangaroos.), singing in the car, lots of sun and sand and ocean waves and collecting shells. Looking back, these were not exactly relaxing trips. They should have been- but they weren’t.

This is the panda that Emily and I each got when we went to the Memphis zoo. We had all gone down to visit my Dad and went to the zoo while we were there. I find it really nice that the girls have pestered me to go back to the zoo ever since- in spite of not want to go the first time.

This is not actually for the Parthenon in Greece (more’s the pity) but for the replica Parthenon that dominates a park in the West End in Nashville. I have a couple of specific memories tied up in that park as well as it being generally around all the time I was in school.

The first memory I have is going to the Parthenon on a school trip when I was 10 (I know I was 10 because Roxanne was there and that’s the only year we had actual school together.) I was prowling around when I found a statue tucked under the stairs. I don’t know why it was in such an out of the way place and I still don’t know if it was original or a replica, who it was or who it was by. It was just of a young girl standing there- no clothes but that’s not uncommon with statuary. I still think it is the most beautiful statue I have ever seen… Copenhagen’s Little Mermaid comes in second.

The other two memories I have involved going to the park with guys. One friend from school nicknamed Jeep* (the star is silent) and John. Both times it rained. Jeep* and I ended up in one of the grottoes talking and John and I ended up in a laundromat. Details on request, there are a lot of them!

Obviously, this is a scottish dancer doing the Highland fling. I could claim that I bought it because it reminds me of my friend Jim (who wears a kilt on formal occasions) or because my Dad used to tell me that we have some Burns back somewhere in the family tree. *note- I do not make this claim nor have I been able to substantiate it reliably. You have to remember that my Dad was a story-teller by trade– he was very good at it.*

I could also spin a story about getting it to remember the time I was on security detail for Christopher Lambert. (He likes all girl security teams- he claims that they are more ruthless.) I really don’t need a charm for that- it’s not a day I’m likely to forget. Nothing happened- but I was nervous and amped the entire time waiting for something to happen. I would not like being a guard as a regular thing.

However, the honest truth of the matter is that I got it because I love it. Eventually, I hope to visit Scotland- and then it can be representative of that visit.

This is an exact replacement for the charm that Mrs (Edna) Gardener, a co-worker of my Dad’s, brought me from Mexico when I was three. She was always really nice- almost every time I came in the office she would give me a tiny red pencil like the ones that used to be given with dance cards. She always seemed to have plenty of time to talk to me- it wasn’t until much later when I realized that, as John Seigenthaler’s secretary (we would say personal assistant now), she was a very busy person.

I remember when she came back from her Mexican vacation greeting her enthusiastically- I had missed her while she was gone. She gave me the charm and I was, indeed, charmed by it- the tiny detail, the word Mexico written on it. Although I had other charms at that time, I had not seen them so my delight in charms dates from that very special gift.

I can remember her voice, her manner, as much of her face as I can ever remember of anyone (I am lacking in that facility) but I had to call my Mom to help me remember her name. Isn’t it funny what tricks memory plays on you?

This is the oldest house in St Augustine, FL. When I was 8, we visited St Augustine and I remember it as the best Florida trip. I loved the fort made of seashells (that makes it sound like it’s a miniature but it’s huge!) and the cobblestone streets and all the dear little shops. St Augustine is where I discovered that “seafood” (which I like very well) and “fish” (which I do not like) were not synonymous- also that I love fried butterfly shrimp. And that peppermint ice cream not only exists but goes very well with a scoop of chocolate.

Of all the places in Florida that I have been, this is the one I want to go back to.

This was a spring break trip when I was in grade school. We went to Chicago and St Louis. The featured activity in Chicago was a play… a real grown up performance in the evening and the only time I’ve really worn a formal dress for a formal occasion. It wasn’t a good play, however, and I don’t even remember the title. In St Louis, the big activity was, of course, the St Louis Arch. Not only did we go up in the arch and see the spectacular view, this is the furthest west I have ever been.

A second charm this morning- this is a recent one from James. It doesn’t look like it, but it’s a travel charm. He pointed out that it was sad, as long as he’d known me, that I didn’t have a charm for him. Well, that’s true. But I thought and thought and I could not come up with anything that was broad enough to do. Around this time, he was cleaning out his wallet and found these two tiny tickets that he’d been carrying since before he met me. They’d gone everywhere with him- all over the states, to Canada- and spent a lot of time at my house as well. He gave them to me to make a charm out of and this is the result. (It took several tries, I now have a bubble charm I have nothing in.) So this are for every story he’s told me about his travels and all the time we’ve spent staying up all night arguing theoretical physics and time travel and the time my tire went flat and I didn’t call and he found out and spent half an hour fussing at me for not calling and all the times we’ve gotten jiggy in the kitchen and made something fabulous… It’s a very loaded charm!

I should be quilting- or possibly sleeping- but I’ve been working on my display for my charm bracelets so I want to tell some stories.

These are all from a very long time ago.

When I was in kindergarten, we had a white rabbit in the classroom as a class pet. Over holidays, one lucky kid would get to take the class pet home and take care of it. We rotated this honour so nobody ever got to take her home more than once in a year. I got very very lucky and got to take her home over Easter. She had recently had kittens (yes, that is what baby rabbits are called) and so I got to take home Momma and five teenagers. I’d never had such a good Easter! On the way home, we had to go over a very steep hill and Momma’s cage fell out of the trunk of my mother’s car. We were going slowly so it didn’t hurt any of the bunnies, just shook them up a little and scared me pretty badly. I expect it scared Mom too but she didn’t show it- just loaded them back in carefully and drove on home.

Easter morning I was up bright and early- to find my chocolate and get ready for church. Before I got dressed, I ran down to see how all the bunnies were doing and give them a special Easter treat of carrots (even at 5 I knew bunnies didn’t like chocolate). And Momma had had 13 more babies! I was so happy and excited- I do think my Mom was less so, though. We had to move the teenage rabbits out of the cage to a different cage so they wouldn’t hurt the new kittens and, as they grew up in the classroom, all of us got to have a new rabbit as a pet. I chose one of the kittens born at my house and named him Hop-Along. He was my very first rabbit.

In first grade, my teacher’s name was Mrs. Dickenson. She didn’t believe in corporeal punishment for children but we were all on our good behaviour anyway. She would draw a big pot on the board and if you got in trouble, she would write your name in it for the day- that was Mrs Dickenson’s Stewpot. Nobody wanted to be in the Stewpot- first, everybody could see your name in it all day long and second, when you got home, you were in more trouble for having gotten yourself in the stew.

When I found this charm, I couldn’t believe my eyes- it was such a perfect commemoration of Mrs Dickenson’s Stewpot!

You would think that this kangaroo would be from Australia but she isn’t.

When my brother and I were small, our parents took us on family vacations. Often that meant long hours in the car cramped into the back seat together. At that age, we fought a lot so to keep us occupied, Mom offered a reward for counting horses and, in the mountains, waterfalls. She’d give us a penny each for each one we counted. It didn’t work all the time but it kept us mostly quiet and looking out the windows so that we didn’t get car sick (I am still susceptible to motion sickness unless I’m driving). Once we were fighting about something, I don’t remember what, and Mom turned her head around to the backseat and commented “I pay a dollar apiece for kangaroos.” We stopped fighting immediately and started looking out the window for kangaroos as quickly as possible but apparently we missed them. She told us that there were two kangaroos at a rest stop we had just passed and Dad confirmed that we had missed them but they were there.

Since that time I have come to wonder if there were actually kangaroos or if it was Mom’s way of getting us to look for something new and different. I choose to believe that there were actually two kangaroos at a rest stop in South Florida that day.

This one is supposed to be a lacemaker but she looks like a quilter working on a lap frame to me. If you need more explanation as to why I would have a quilter charm, you don’t know me and what are you reading this for?

This second one is the Hermatige- home of Andrew Jackson just outside of Nashville. I visited it quite often growing up and, while no specific memories of it come to the front, I always thought it was the ideal ‘house in the country’ that I wanted to have one day. Ok, I was young. As I grew up, the house I wanted shrank simply because I’m not crazy about housework and the bigger the house, the more housework you have.

This is a charm that I found the perfect charm… but I hadn’t yet won a blue ribbon. I bought it anyway because I was confident that I would- eventually. And I did- September 29-30 at the Hamilton County Fair for my Don’t Go Out A-Lone Star quilt in the hand pieced category. Em and I didn’t get to go to the fair on Saturday because we had to go Sunday anyway to pick up my quilts so I didn’t know if I had won anything until Sunday when we got there. I’ve only got so much patience so the Home Goods exhibit was the first place we went. My quilt was hanging directly across from the door and I could see the blue ribbon all the way across the room! I was so very excited, it was all I could do to keep from dancing.

This charm is- obviously- a round tuit. The story behind it is funny but with a little bit of mean in it. The year I was pregnant with Eliz, I was working as well as taking care of the house and getting ready for my first baby and I often ran out of energy before I ran out of things people wanted me to do. Apparently, Mom nagged me about something or several somethings and I kept telling her that I would get around to it. When Christmas came, I didn’t go ‘home’- I was 8 months pregnant, I couldn’t get the time off work and I didn’t want to go make nice with the family when I was the size of a house. So Mom sent my Christmas gifts to me. When I opened them, there was a round tin box- the kind you use to give home made baked good in- and I thought she was being awfully nice. She’d sent me cookies, knowing I wouldn’t have the energy to make any myself that year. When I opened it, it wasn’t cookies at all- it was round circles of paper that had “Tuit” written on the edge of each one. It must have taken her hours and hours to make all of them- there were hundreds. I still have the box with all those circles of paper in it… and sometimes I still wish it had been cookies.

I used to like unicorns a lot. Maybe it had to do with my fantasy background- most girls go through a ‘horse’ phase, I went through a ‘unicorn’ phase. Not that I don’t still like them… I’m just not as fond of them as I once was. I still have this charm though- it started out as a necklace and was given to me by my first college boyfriend, Kris Jones (no relation to Ann). We dated most of my freshman college year and the necklace was a Valentine’s present from him. I still like Kris and I still like unicorns and, for the most part, it was a pretty good year so it makes me happy to remember it.

Jun. 17th, 2006
I found the perfect book charm for my bracelet! It’s a locket that has a place for 4 pictures (hildebrants shrunk very small, I forsee) and two pages that could be engraved in the center. I had them engrave the cover with “The Hobbit” and “JRR Tolkien”. Perfect!

I’ve only been to New York once. We spent the night and a day there on the way back from Europe on that memorable spring break trip. Since I slept all the way over the Atlantic, when we got to New York, I was not at all ready for sleep. We got through customs- the customs man thought I was French and was stumbling over some very basic french until I gave him my passport and then he exclaimed “Why, you’re American!” He also looked pointedly at the rose I was still wearing behind my ear under the beret as he asked me if I had anything to declare and I whipped it into the pocket of my trench coat and said, with a perfectly straight face, “No, nothing.” After we checked into the hotel, I went out for a walk in the park. It was about one in the morning but New York never sleeps. I did wonder why the few people I saw in the park walked quickly the other way- just not very friendly, I guess. I wandered around the park and the streets until I came to a lovely lovely church- St Patrick’s Cathedral. It was closed, of course, but even the outside is beautiful. While I was in New York, I had no money at all- I had spent it all in Europe- and got home with not even a dime to call if no one met my flight. But later I got this charm of the cathedral to remember New York and my lovely midnight walk in the park.

Ok, so technically, this is a wishing well. But the charm, for me, is for the cake Mom and I made for my 10th birthday. We had an old Whitman’s decorating book and one of the cakes in it was a wishing well and that’s the cake I wanted. So, not too hard, Mom made the roof covered with frosting and the cake in a bundt pan… but we got stuck on the brown frosting for the bucket. We mixed colours (remember, this is 1973, food colouring is four colours and comes in little bottles) and added sugar to thicken and mixed some more. We finally got a good brown…as well as an entire mixing bowl of frosting when we only needed about four tablespoons… and about that time we both looked at the tin of cocoa on the counter. It was definitely a face-palm moment.

Rock City- where do I begin? I don’t remember the first time we went to Rock City. My grandmother lived in Chattanooga when I was growing up and almost every time we came to visit, Mom and Dad would take us to Rock City. Mom would never go over the suspension bridge but we did and Dad would go with us. When I was very small, I loved the fairy tale caverns. As I got older, I liked the scenery- always love that you can see seven states from up there. After the girls were born, I took a friend up there- he had never been to Chattanooga so we did some touristy things because they’re really fun if you’ve never seen them- and then I took a girl I worked with at Sarah’s and her girls and Emily one pretty afternoon. Emily and I should go back and take a camera- it’s a great place for a walk. I don’t like the fairy tale cavern as much as I used to… except the entrance. I still love that most of all.

Possibly I mentioned that my lovely [info]zenkitty gave me charms for Christmas:

Big Ben- which she actually got in England on her vacation this year (2012) and said it was astonishingly hard to find and

Sherlock. If you know me at all, this one needs no explanation! I love Sherlock.

So now I have three charms on my bracelets from [info]zenkitty– appropriate as she’s my BFF!

One Response to Charms

  1. Pingback: Day 1121 | The Virtual Wren

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