I actually give away a fair amount of jewelry, ask my friends, they'll tell you. It's good to give. It surprises people and everyone can use a nice surprise once in a while.
Now, there's a story that goes along with the necklace. The story is true. I'll share it with you and you can share it with others when you wear the necklace.
The Summer of Pastel Memories
Another memory I have of my childhood summers is one which ended in my being sent home - again. I didn't want to be sent home, I just got carried away, and, well, again I paid the consequences. It was near the end of July and I was about seven years old.
When I woke, Aunt Rhetta was already busy, so I remember eating breakfast by myself. There were several people in the kitchen, dining room and living room, cooking, cleaning, polishing, dusting. Everything was a whirlwind of activity and I loved it. The large sterling silver coffee and tea servers were being polished. In fact, all the sterling silver was laid out to be polished. Whatever was going to happen was going to be very big and I was very excited!
One of the things I loved most was watching the preparations for the parties Aunt Rhetta and my uncle hosted. They were wonderful affairs. I kept an intent eye on everything as the planning unfolded. The best china and silver were set out and the flowers and decorations arrived. The smells from the kitchen were scrumptious. Eventually I knew the opportunity to greet the invited guests would arrive. I loved that part. Aunt Rhetta had always welcomed me to her parties. I was allowed to sit and have dinner as long as I practiced my best manners and remained more or less quiet. It was great fun.
The day progressed and finally in the late afternoon Aunt Rhetta sat me down and told me that there was to be a grand party that evening, and that this time, I wouldn't be allowed to attend. She went on to make clear that I would have a sitter and would have dinner in my room with my sitter. I was stunned! Not allowed to attend! That couldn't be! I always attended and I always had behaved. "But not this time," Aunt Rhetta said. She went on to explain that this was a special party and some very important people would attend. What kind of "important people" I wanted to know. She told me that the governor and his wife were the honored guests along with some other people I had never met.
I was disheartened. It wasn't fair! I had never met a governor and while I wasn't even sure I knew what a governor was, I was very sure I wanted to meet one. I had seen so much of the preparation for that evening's events. I was sad, but even more, I was angry!
Later when I was introduced to my sitter, we had dinner in my room. I knew that delicious baked stuffed lobsters were one of the items on the menu. I had eaten lobster before and loved it, especially with all the dripping butter. And when I saw that my dinner wasn't lobster I grew sullen. It wasn't fair, I remember thinking, it just wasn't fair.
After picking at my dinner I wandered into Aunt Rhetta's bedroom to watch her dress for the evening. She had chosen a beautiful long yellow dress with a darker yellow trim and it was so pretty. Her sparkling necklace and earrings were on her dressing table. I remember fingering them while she dressed.
Part of the dressing ritual for my buxom aunt was wearing what she called her "corset." They were beautiful and lacy things made of soft pastel colors. Aunt Rhetta had two of every color, pink and yellow and green as well as lavender and blue. I watched her choose the pretty pastel yellow because it matched her dress.
When my aunt finished dressing and kissed me, I returned to my room and she went downstairs to welcome her guests. I left the door open just a crack so I could hear when everyone arrived. I can remember how exciting it was just to listen to all the commotion. When the voices in the foyer quieted I knew that everyone was "having drinks" and that dinner would follow.
My sitter and I played a game and she read me a story. Then she turned to her own reading and that was when I got my idea. I slipped out of my room and crossed the hall to Aunt Rhetta's bedroom where I opened her bureau drawer, the one that held all the beautiful lacy "corsets." I pulled the other yellow one from the drawer. Slipping it over my clothes I looked in the full length mirror and saw that it reached my ankles. It was beautiful and I felt beautiful. I closed the drawer and tentatively stepped out of my aunt's bedroom. I stood at the top of the stairs and looked down into the foyer. I knew everyone was at dinner because the voices were no longer coming from the living room.
One step at a time, slowly and carefully I made my way down the stairs and when I reached the bottom, I ran quckly and rounded the corner into the dining room, shouting at the top of my lungs, "Look, look, this is what Aunt Rhetta is wearing under her dress!"
Stunned silence greeted me. No one said a word. Dr. Bishoffburger, who lived across the street, quickly rose from his chair, picked me up, tossed me over his shoulder and marched me up the stairs. "You, young lady, are a very naughty girl, and I imagine your aunt Nancy will be sending you home tomorrow."
"I'm sorry," I cried. "I'm sorry. I don't want to go home." I remember crying so hard I never heard him leave the room.
The next morning I went to the kitchen to eat breakfast. My suitcase had been packed. Aunt Rhetta never spoke a word about the previous evening as she drove me back to my parents in Massachusetts. I remember it was a very, very long ride.
This necklace always reminds me of those beautiful pastel corsets.
Copyright Pauline Salvucci