The Necklace

By the time my mother had been in jail for about five weeks for the murder of my father, it was my birthday.  As an adult in the midst of a family crisis, a rocky marriage, and a full schedule of work and a baccalaureate degree, my birthday was just another day on the calendar.

However, when my mother called as scheduled that day and asked my brother, sisters, and me how we were celebrating it, we lied and told her we were with our families at a restaurant.  We did not want her to know that we were at her house doing cleaning, repairing, packing, and remodeling, as we had been since that fateful July day more than a month earlier.  She had already been through enough, and we did not want her to know we

The necklace

all spent every spare minute at their home so we could sell it for bail and her defense fund.

We were there seven days a week working on the home, even though we all had full-time jobs and families.  We brought our spouses and children there, we ate dinner there during the week and all three meals there on the weekends.  So, I was not going to let something like a birthday keep me from doing my fair share.  Never mind the fact that the last time I had been in this home my father threw me out and told me never to come back; I wiped those memories from my mind, or tried to.

My little sister came to me that day, my birthday, away from everybody else, “Mom wants you to have this,” she said as she handed me a necklace.  My eyes welled up with tears as I saw the familiar piece of jewelry; it was a silver charm necklace.  The base piece was a wishbone with a silver strand across the bottom between the base where you would pull the “bone” of the wishbone apart.  There were at least ten charms on it, all made of pure silver.  I used to secretly steal into my mother’s room and sneak it off of her dresser, borrowing it from her when I thought she would not notice.

“Are you sure?” I asked my sister.

“Yes, she feels bad that we have all been working so much,” she answered, “and that she is in there on your birthday.”

I happily took the necklace, a little shocked that my mother actually wanted me to have something so special; we had never been very close.

A few years later, my mother started to distribute her belongings to my brother and sisters; everything I asked for was already spoken for, so she gave me nothing.  So it goes, so it goes.  Then, one year I was in the area for Christmas and she came over to my daughter’s house for dinner.  She had a gift bag filled with jewelry she wanted to give me; she opened the bag and laid out each piece as if it was something special.  It wasn’t.  “I wanted to give you all of the good jewelry,” she said, “I know you are the only one who will wear it and appreciate it.”  As she laid each piece across the bedspread, I tried to be polite and smile, but I was confused.  She had some nice pieces, and these were not those pieces.

The costume jewelry she gave me was old, worn, and most of it was not even fit to be worn.  I took it home and added it to my collection of junk.

A few months later she was visiting my home; she was in the guest room where the jewelry was laid out on a dresser, including the necklace my sister had given me for my birthday years earlier.  For some unknown reason, my mother started to go through the pieces of jewelry on the dresser; the junk jewelry she gave me, pieces of my own from long ago, and the necklace.

Suddenly, she calls me from the kitchen, “Come in here,” she screams, “what are you doing with this?” she holds up the necklace, fury in her eyes.  “I gave this to your sister; you aren’t supposed to have any of the ‘good’ jewelry.”  Her voice punctuates the word good, a direct conflict to when she made a point that she wanted to give me the good jewelry.

I explained the story about her being in jail on my birthday and how the necklace was given to me.  She was angry.  She claimed I was never supposed to get the necklace.  The rest of her visit was peppered with tension.

When she left the next day, I went in the room to clean and change the sheets, and the necklace was gone.

My daughter claims she wore it all that summer.

10 thoughts on “The Necklace

    • Thank you, Sir… she could use it. And, as luck would have it, I had one of those wonderful calls from my mother yesterday… “You are a terrible mother… your children hate you… etc.” I was ready to give it all up when I hung up.

      So it goes. So it goes.

      Always,
      Me

  1. I have become a strong supporter of an organization called “If You Only Knew Me” It was an MTV show for a while. One of their most worthwhile ones… of course it didn’t last. The good ones never do. But I really feel that you would do good helping out in a program like that!
    What you have gone through, would be a slap in your own face, if you couldn’t use all the wisdom you have accumulated in your life to not take it as a lesson… NO ONE ever has to be stuck being flat!!!!! Ahhh, I wish I could make it better for you!!!!
    When I was young, I worked in a Psych Ward for several years, I heard of an opening in the Alcohol ward, and applied. I could not, the prequisite was, you had to be a recovering addict or alcoholic to be considered!!! I guess we are all crazy so I was able to get the other job (smirk) But my point is…. that you could understand those kids… the program goes around and bonds kids such as bullies and nerds, outsiders and the popular crowds by sharing where they all have come from. And believe me we all have our stories. Even though you have had kids and you feel as if your life may be lived (you are younger than me and I don’t feel as if I am done. I have felt that way, but I don’t any longer!!) There still is plenty of life for you to live. There is still plenty of good for you to do. Pish wah your stupid mother… she probably came from her own hell… break the cycle! Show them you can shine and rise above it all! Become 3 dimensional!!!! I know you can!!! I believe in you. You write so beautifully with wisdom drenched words… use the bad breaks for the saave that tends to the wounds of others!
    Praying for you….
    At least look into some volunteer programs that you might push yourself to see you really do have somet amazing stuff to offer.
    XOXO
    Di

    • You always say the most wonderful things.

      When I get settled back down – hopefully in about a month, as I am still just staying at my sister’s house temporarily, I was hoping to look into some voluntary work. I have volunteered before but it did not turn out very well… there may be a blog about it somewhere in the recesses of my mind.

      Thank you again for saying so much; it truly means a lot.

      Always, the ever more three dimensional girl,
      Me

  2. More than anything I want you to know I read this and I understand. I remember a time when my mother would try to tear me down and I would simply say that I didn’t deserve to be treated that way, said I would see her again, and then I would immediately leave or hang up the phone. Always, every time the crap started, leave or hang up. Stop it when it starts. Every time. At least this worked for me.

    I would ask you to start playing music again. Even the expression of placid melodies might lead to becoming more whole.

    And by all means continue to write. You are not simply damaged goods. Things do affect you. Things do make you feel. I’m sure we can all help work this out, one tiny little step at a time. Of course sympathizing with you also helps us work through our own issues. This journey you lead us on does us all good.

    • Sir,
      Thank you for your kind words. It certainly helps to know we are not alone in this world… that we are not alone in the way our parents have treated us; not that we wish that treatment for others.

      It is funny you would say that about the music. I have thought about it before, in the past few years; it would be a daunting task, but something that is not off of my radar. Perhaps, perhaps.

      I am very appreciative that you are here. Thank you for reading, and for knowing me.

      Always,
      Me

  3. This is a sad story indeed, but looking from another perspective, it is also a story about how your little sister cares about you. 🙂

    • That is a great perspective…

      My sister was mortified that my mother had reacted in that way. She was hurt that my mother had not remembered.

      Thank you for redirecting my pain.

      Always
      Me

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