My annual Valentine’s Day post is usually brimming with images of spoiled-rotten squirrels scurrying around and devouring heart-shaped treats, but this year I decided I’d do something different.
I’ve mentioned before that my late mother’s birthday was Valentine’s Day – she would have turned 96 years old today. I want to share this story as I remember Mom with much love.
Many years ago, prior to meeting and marrying my father, Mom had a good friend named Harry. As I understand it, Harry was not a suitor, (a rather archaic term for a man who pursues a romantic relationship with a woman with the expectation of marriage), nor was he a gentleman caller, the likes of the gents mentioned in the play The Glass Menagerie – Harry and my mom were just good friends.
Everyone has a passion … for a person, or a hobby and Harry’s passion was art. He loved to draw and paint. The two images you see in this post were created by Harry. This painting of Mom in a business suit was given to her when she completed her curriculum at Shaw Business College in Toronto.
The other painting is the header image of Mom wearing a blouse, which color surely would have rivaled her blue eyes. She is wearing the locket that will be the subject of today’s post.
Harry had a heart of gold and he gave Mom a heart of silver.
Mom was lucky to have Harry in her life. She told me he doted on her, was kind and thoughtful and sometimes gave her presents, like the sterling silver, heart-shaped locket she is wearing in the photo up top. It was a present for her 20th birthday. Truthfully, I’ve often wished Harry would have become her husband – perhaps she would have had an easier life than that with my father, but of course my musings are silly because I wouldn’t be here then.
A local high-end jewelry store runs a radio advertisement for their jewelry exchange. The ad asks “do you have heirloom jewelry which is outdated and you don’t like – well we can take it off your hands for you.” Well, being a sentimental sort, this ad makes me a little sad. I had two treasured pieces of jewelry given to me by my mother and I lost both of them.
The first was this pretty silver locket and I remember that day like it was yesterday.
Mom gave it to me on Valentine’s Day when I was a young girl. She asked me if I would like to wear it to school for Valentine’s Day, and, if I liked it, it would become mine. “Do you like it Linda?” she asked. “Oh yes – I love it Mommy!” was my instant reply. The locket was beautifully crafted, with engraved etchings on the case. Inside was powder blue satin with a plastic insert on one side in which to place a photo, but the locket was empty. Mom slipped the chain over my head and even double-checked the clasp to ensure it was fastened securely. As you see in the photo, the locket was on a fairly long chain, which links were delicate and ornate. I got to school and showed my friends and while in class, I fiddled with the locket, opening and closing that heart, plus twiddling and twisting the chain. Sadly, while walking home from school that afternoon, perhaps my coat or scarf had become entangled with the jewelry, which caused the chain to break and fall into the snow. My father and my friends retraced my steps home and we checked the hallways at school to no avail.
If I were my mom, I would have been angry and never given me a piece of jewelry again, but when I was a little older, (and hopefully more sensible), Mom gifted me with another piece of jewelry, a small and delicate gold ring with her amethyst birthstone.
At least I had that ring longer than a few hours, but, not long afterward, I was at the movie theater with my parents and in twisting and playing with the ring, it slipped off my finger, and, though we searched between seat cushions and scoured the floor, the ring was lost forever. That time my mom was angry at me and said “I have no more jewelry pieces to give you now Linda.”
I was crushed, but also remorseful for being so reckless and irresponsible.
Years later I lost a hatpin my grandmother gave me to secure my hat to walk to St. Helen’s church for Midnight Mass and I wrote about that incident a few years ago. If you’d like to read that post, you can find it by clicking here.
All these years later, those incidents bother me, but the loss of Mom’s heart-shaped locket especially tugs at my heartstrings every February 14th.