You may have seen this New York Times story from early this week, Found: Lovebirds Who Lost Engagement Ring Down a Times Square Gate.
Their happy ending made me think of the engagement ring I lost: my mother’s.
Long before my mother, Mable, met my father, there was a man named Bill who asked her to marry him. He proposed with a very large diamond solitaire. Over the years I pieced together the story of a wartime proposal which would have required my mom to move from North Dakota to the military base somewhere in the South. (Fort McClellan perhaps?) She was terrified of moving away from home and even asked her younger brother Robert if he would move too. In the end she broke off the engagement.
When I was in first grade, I opened the jewelry drawer in my mother’s dresser, which I had been instructed was strictly off-limits. Among all the sparkly pins and bracelets, I found the aforementioned ring. Admiring it on my finger, I skipped down the stairs of our apartment to the swing set in the yard. Oh, what fun it was to go down the slide – that is, until the ring slid off my finger and into the unknown. Frantically I looked for it. In tears I ran inside to confess my sin to my mother. I remember so well how calm she was as we looked together for the ring. All in vain. Never a scolding. Never another mention of it. I always wondered about that ring.
Nearly 50 years later as I was cleaning out my mom’s house, I found a photo of her, torn in two pieces. She was young, dressed to the nines, and had a ring on her left hand. Though it wasn’t the errant ring, it was still shocking – she looked radiant and the diamond on the ring looked large.
The New York Times article reminded me of my own adventure with a lost diamond ring. And as I was writing this post, I believe I have now lost the photo, too. But what I found were very pleasant memories of my mother.
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