Helen's earrings...

by - Sunday, September 13, 2015

I cannot recall when I actually acquired them, but they keep close company with my favorites, sitting in the top drawer of the jewelry chest ...

They are platinum, fan-shaped drops of intricate filigree with two tiny sapphires, one suspended from the drop, the other at the base of its French wire. They are so beautiful and casually elegant, very strong and rigid despite their delicate appearance. The earrings belonged to my maternal grandmother, Helen, from a time long before her pierced pinholes closed up. All my young life I had never seen her wear them, grandma living with us in the Hoboken apartment and later in our suburban home. She passed away the first year I started college. I can still feel the softness of her cable sweater with the scent of rosewater and talc, sitting next to her on the family room couch where she would tell me stories about her youth. When grandpa was alive playing base in the Hungarian band, she was loving life right beside him, dancing away the afternoons and nights, celebrating their immigrant origins at many of the European picnics in the park. I imagine that was when she wore these earrings, when she was freedom-loving and buoyant, living simply, honestly, and unapologetic. Just as air flows freely through the filigree, so did grandma through life.

Even though she was blind in her later years, she was as sharp as a tack. Her hearing was uncanny and she was able to discern many a friend’s persona with acute accuracy by just the sound of their voice. You couldn’t put anything past her, for she was one of those people who just knew everything before it was actually shared. I learned a lot from her and much to be thankful for. My mom admitted that it was Helen who convinced her to let me attend college in New York City back in the mid 80’s. Grandma never let fear make her life choices and stood her ground in her convictions. 

Whenever I need to feel confident, I wear those earrings, knowing she is with me. They have become tokens of enduring strength and grace, traits I always try to emulate and will one day pass onto my daughter, the future recipient of her great-grandmother's legacy.  

I can always count on Helen's earrings to take me to a place of undaunted living and fortitude. Thank you grandma...
Happy Grandparent's Day... xoxo-Sonya

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