4-10-12 I have a confession to make. In Sept. of last year I wrote the Red Room blog below. I also posted it on Facebook. I wanted readers to have the inside scoop on the mysterious bracelet featured in my exciting novel DEAREST. The blog was well received. I was happy. Today, in preparation for writing another blog, I reviewed this old posting, and I am not happy. I've found a spelling error. And here's my confession. When it comes to correct spelling I'm a perfectionist and pretty hard on myself when I don't live up to my own over-the-top expectations. Now I know blogs are fun, sharing communications and not manuscripts ready to go, but I'd likely be upset if I left the h out of chamomile on my grocery list. And so I have made the correction and, of course, must repost. Good thing is the DEAREST bracelet is still an interesting story and I'm feeling oh so much better.
I remember the day, can still feel the soft chenille spread on the back of my legs. It was a warm spring morning. I was seven, sitting on my mother's bed. Mother was right next to me holding a black, velvet pouch with a red drawstring. She spread the top of the pouch open and slowly emptied its contents onto her lap. I leaned in for a closer look.
There were four pieces of jewelry on Mother's lap - two rings, one pin, and a bracelet. Mother said the blue stone in the small ring was a sapphire and had belonged to her mother. The other larger ring was a plain, gold band. Mother said her brother had found it on the street years ago. The pin consisted of three gold letters - my mother's initials. As she dropped the rings and pin back into the velvet bag, I reached for the bracelet.
One charm dangled from the thin, delicate, silver chain. The charm was a slender, silver rectangle. Seven stones were mounted the length of the charm. Mother pointed them out one by one, reciting each name to me - diamond, emerald, amethyst, ruby, emerald, sapphire, topaz. Then we played a game. "Let's remember the first letter of each stone," Mother said. She repeated the names of the stones -diamond, emerald, amethyst, ruby, emerald, sapphire, topaz. I confidently recited the first letter of each D E A R E S T. "Now, put those letters together," said Mother. "Put them together and see what they spell."
I grabbed a pencil and notepad from the nightstand. With my best penmanship, I printed each letter on the paper. I was the top speller in my class at school, good at sounding out letters and piecing together words. I shouted it out triumphantly - DEAREST. Mother congratulated me. "That's exactly right my smart girl. See here, the charm spells the word dearest. And one day I'll tell you all about this bracelet," Mother promised. "One day when you're older I'll tell you the story."
My mother died in 1984. When I was helping my father sort through her things I found the black, velvet pouch. I slid the red drawstring open and dumped the jewelry out on the bed - the sapphire ring, the gold band, the pin of three gold letters, and the bracelet with one single charm. I laid the charm across the palm of my hand, fingering each stone, remembering spelling dearest as a child. And I remembered something else. Mother had never told me the story of the bracelet.
Every now and then over the years I'd take Mother's bracelet out of my jewelry box. And when I looked at the charm I'd wish for the story, but there was no one left to tell it. When I finally accepted that the true tale would never be revealed, I did the next best thing. I gave my bracelet a history, a story of its own. I wrote DEAREST, a novel.