Monday, August 23, 2010

My Mother's Wedding Rings

My Mom's first wedding ring, nestled inside of Dad's.  Note the two "black eyes."

I  wrote a post recently about a ring that my father had given me many years ago:

Well, here is a bit of a different story of two others.  It's about my Mom's wedding rings.

Neither of my parents came from affluent backgrounds, although they did come into some affluence through work.  When they were engaged to be married - and I have no idea how long their engagement lasted, although I suspect it was not for long - there was no engagement ring.  Perhaps it was not the fashion, but I assume it was because there was not the money for that sort of extravagance.  I do know that they were married on a Tuesday, with family and friends in attendance, and that my Mom wore a nice brown suit, and my Dad his best (or only) dress suit.  My Dad had a degree in Mechanical Engineering, and had an incredibly analytical mind - extremely intelligent and insightful - he was at that time someone who would today be considered a "nerd."  He always carried a slide rule - might have been born with one clutched in his hands, instead of sporting a "silver spoon in his mouth" that others are said to have.  His habit of always carrying his "rule" around led many to believe that he would consult this device before answering "I do" at the wedding.  Sure enough, the slide rule was in his shirt pocket at the ceremony.  I am told, however, that he did not feel the need to consult it when asked those most important questions.

He must have splurged in the cash department when it came time to purchase the wedding ring for my Mom.  He bought a lovely platinum band that held a 1/2 circle of small diamonds.  It was not an enormously expensive ring, I'm sure, but it probably represented a good chunk of his savings, and its value was in the love represented and not the money spent.  Mom had that ring throughout their almost 49 years of marriage, but she did not wear it in the last several years.  Two of the tiny diamonds had fallen out and been lost.  (This ring, with inferior diamonds removed is pictured above,with Dad's ring.) My Dad took the ring to have them replaced, which they were, but unfortunately they were replaced by stones so inferior to the others that they stood out like sore thumbs on the ring.  He was very disappointed in the jeweler's work, but rather than make a huge fuss, he decided to pay for it, and then get my mother a new ring.  What he got for her - and I do not remember when in their marriage that this happened (it was sometime in the second half of their life together) - was a beautiful yellow gold band with 5 decidedly larger diamonds set on it.  She was thrilled, of course, but she always treasured both.

As I am the only daughter of their three children (and the youngest as well), her jewelry was left to me when she died.  Other than her rings and a few other pieces of semi-precious stones jewelry, the main piece I received was her beautiful string of pearls.  My Mom's name was Pearl, and she wore those pearls every day.  She liked to say that she wore her name.  If you forgot it, just look at her neck!  Daddy had given that beautiful strand to her around their 10th wedding anniversary, I believe.

When our sons became adults I told them that they could both have one of my Mom's weddings rings as engagement rings for their brides if they desired, as both rings were set with diamonds.  Our youngest could have the second ring, our oldest the first.  They both had adored their Granny and were pleased that they would have this token to offer their intended brides.  Our youngest son, Matt, took us up on the offer.  He was the first to marry, and on New Year's Day 2006, at 12:01 a.m., he asked Suddie to marry him after calling her up to the stage where he and his band were performing.  Everyone was in on this proposal except Suddie, and we love seeing the pictures from that night and see the love and excitement in the eyes of them both.  Four years go by, and Josh is ready to propose to his lovely girlfriend, Sarah Beth.  I reminded him of Mom's first wedding ring, and that it was his should he want to use it as an engagement ring.  He was delighted to accept the offer.  That's when the problems arose!

Being a Methodist pastor's family, we have moved around a lot in our almost 35 years of marriage.  As a matter of fact, we now reside in the first home of our very own, since we lived in church parsonages up until Ashley's retirement.  This is our 11th residence together.  I won't say it's the last, because I never know if Ashley will get itchy feet or not.  Since I have seen evidence of recent "foot-scratching," I'm holding my breath.  But that's another story entirely!

When we moved to our current home here in NC, I was still in recovery from my last round of serious illness.  Although I was able to participate in most of the packing to move, my mind didn't hold on very well to exactly where I had packed everything.  This included my jewelry.  I remembered seeing the ring and her other precious items, and putting them in her jewelry box, and I could have sworn I remembered unpacking that box when we arrived at our new home!  But when late last year I went to retrieve Mom's first wedding ring, in order to have it repaired and ready for Josh to use when he was ready, it was nowhere to be found.  *Cue the eerie mystery music*

I went crazy.  For weeks, even months, I searched for that ring, as well as for my Dad's wedding band (which I had also misplaced) and I knew that I had packed them together.  Well, I remembered wrong.  I did find my Dad's ring, and it was by itself in a box hidden deep within another box in my dresser. The hiding place of Mom's ring was still a mystery.  I found her jewelry box and the ring was not in it, so I began to wonder if it had been lost in the move, or perhaps even stolen.  Knowing that it is just a "thing," I tried not to obsess over it, but I felt a very sentimental attachment to that ring and I really wanted to find it.  As earlier this year it began to appear that Josh was nearing the time he would pop the question, Ashley and I decided to take the next "logical" step.  (*Cue ironic laugh*)  We contacted a dear friend of long standing, currently living in Arizona, who is a genuine psychic!   She has always had the reputation of being able to find lost things, and while we had never consulted her in that capacity before, we knew others who had had success with her gifts.  Kathleen has always contended that her "finder of lost things" is the spirit of her deceased father, and at our request (by telephone) she agreed to consult him as to the whereabouts of the ring.  She said immediately that she knew it had not been stolen, and that it would be found, and told us that we were to put it completely out of our minds and to cease looking for it.  So we did.

About a month later, I finally had the determination to tackle cleaning up the clutter and mess that was our bedroom.  It was a huge task, as I had let things go for far too long.  Along about day three of that job, I got down on my hands and knees (no small task, let me tell you!), to pull out things that been pushed under our dresser.  Lo and behold, what is there but my Mom's jewelry box.  I had completely forgotten that she had two of them.  They are of similar style and color, and I then recalled that one of them had been my father's, but she had started using it in addition to her own after Daddy died.  With trembling hands I opened the latch and lifted the lid to discover that precious ring, so long sought after, sitting in the spot where I had placed it more two years earlier.  The relief and joy on finding it was indescribable!  I went shouting through the house to find Ashley and show him what I had found!  We called Josh to tell him that the ring had been recovered, and then decided to call Kathleen that night to let her know that it had been found - just as she said it would be.  We unfortunately forgot to call that night, but we did several days later, and recounted to her the whole story of the recent discovery.

What she then told us added a whole new wrinkle to the story.  She said her father "came" to her one night several days before the day we had found the ring, and said that he knew where the ring was, and that we would find it "by accident" very soon.  But, she also said that when he came to tell her this, he had a very sad and distressed look about him, so she asked him what was wrong. *Cue more eerie music* Her father said that I was not to give this ring away; that I was to keep it, have it repaired and sized for me to wear.  He was adamant.  On hearing this we felt a bit dismayed.  First of all we wondered, if we decided to take that advice, how we would tell Joshua, and second we wondered what could possibly be the reasons for not giving this ring to him and passing on one of our family's legacies? Rather than telling Josh one way or another how we felt, we told him what Kathleen had said. He was also mystified, and seemed (to me, anyway) disappointed.  We left the issue up in the air for a while and sort of waited a while for our feelings to settle a bit.  We offered Josh a financial advance whatever he decided to do - either get a new ring entirely, or to have Mom's repaired.  Nothing was said for a while.  Then one day Josh sent me an e-mail photo of a ring he had found while searching online.  Sarah Beth has a Celtic heritage as well as Josh, and he decided to look for a Claddagh ring to give her.  Below is a photo of the ring Joshua decided he wanted to give to Sarah Beth.  It turns out that the more he thought about it, the more he felt he wanted to give her a ring that would symbolize their own relationship and one that had to do with both of their lives.  As much as he liked the idea of the "legacy" ring, he decided he wanted to go another route.  Problem solved!  I had told Josh that our reason for backtracking on our original offer simply was not good enough.  The idea that we would acquiesce to a psychic vision as the basis for such a personal decision simply did not feel right, and that with all our hearts we wanted him to know that the ring was once again offered to him without reservations whatever!  "Please tell us, Josh, if you feel at all bad about our withdrawal of the offer.  If there is any desire on your part to have your Granny's ring, please say so - it is yours, and we give it with joy!"  Josh said, and we believed him, that he really wanted to give the Claddagh to Sarah Beth, as it would mean so much to them both.  And so, he ordered the ring, and last weekend he offered it to Sarah Beth, and she accepted joyfully!  Needless to say (but I will anyway), we are very happy for them both, and we are looking forward to having another daughter in our family -  especially one as delightful and beautiful as she is, both inside and out.  Wedding plans are being made for the autumn of 2011.

So, what of my mother's first wedding ring?  We are going to have it repaired and sized for me.  It will look very lovely with my own engagement set and wedding ring, and will serve as a beautiful memory of my wonderful Mom.  We hope Kathleen's father is pleased and relieved.

Besides, our granddaughter, Zoë Alison Calhoun, is due any day now!  Maybe someday. . .

Until the next time, I wish you all enough.

The Claddagh ring, with natural emerald and diamonds - and it's even more beautiful in real life!
. .


  1. I loved reading this, a lovely story :)
    theonlycin :)

  2. Beautiful post, Paula!

    Glad that you found (and kept) the ring.

  3. AP- I absolutely adore it whenever you tell stories about Gdaddy and Granny. I feel like I'm finally getting to know them a little bit after the fact since I didn't really get to during their lifetimes. This is a really beautiful story and I hope you get the ring repaired and wear it soon. I'm sure it'll make you feel so happy and connected to Granny to wear it always! Thanks SOOO much for sharing this story and the photos!

  4. Wow! Your mother’s ring is giving so gorgeous look. I am sure this ring is very precious to you. You have really shared this story of your parents fantastically here in this blog. Please tell me from where your Dad had designed this ring for your Mom?
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