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  • Writer's pictureStephanie Valentine

The Center of the Universe

If people want to find things, they find them themselves.

Jimmy Page

In our house, the place where we put all of the important stuff, notes, money, must see items, is in mom’s jewelry box. I don’t know if modern moms have jewelry boxes, but when I was a little girl, my mother’s jewelry box was a special place. It contained all of her treasured items, which to anyone else wasn’t much, but to us, the items held a lot of sentimental value. The same could be said about my jewelry box. I don’t remember how I got this one (My husband may have given it to me, maybe), but it is pretty special. It has 2 drawers and then a top compartment for rings, earrings and brooches.

My jewelry box contains all types of items that aren't jewelry - old ticket stubs, old college ids, and money from other countries. To say that it is a mixture of things that most people wouldn’t think to put in their jewelry box would be an understatement. When the guys were younger and our paths would cross due to busy schedules, often times the important papers or other things that needed my attention were placed in the jewelry box.

One thing is clear, each item is a treasure. There are two particular pieces that have funny stories behind them:

Baby ID Bracelet

When my oldest was newly born, my godmother bought him a beautiful engraved bracelet. She didn’t have any grandchildren of her own at the time (she would later be blessed with two beautiful babies who changed her world) so to have this new baby in her life was transformative. Now I have to confess to you that quite by accident, my first son’s name is her last name. I never made the association until she brought it to my attention. She was convinced that I’d named him after her…I never confessed that it was a coincidence because it clearly made her very happy. She gave him this beautiful bracelet and we treasure it to this day.

The Ankle Bracelet

The other treasured piece is an ankle bracelet that I received in high school. Back in the day, an ankle bracelet was a feminine piece of jewelry and if your boyfriend gave it to you, that made it extra special. It has been a long time since I have been in a jewelry store so I am not sure if they still make them. On a teenager’s budget, it was a definite sign of commitment. I can’t remember if we went together to pick it out, or if he selected it, but the engraving was the special part. The bracelet could be engraved on the front and back of the piece. So my bracelet had my initials on the front right section, his on the left and then our first initials on the middle piece like you would see etched in a tree S & V. (I can just hear you saying Ahhhhh). Then on the back was his first name, my first name and the date we started officially “going out” Feb 4.

Most of my body is doing its own thing during this aging process (HA) but I can always depend on my ankles to adhere to my teenage size. I can still wear this ankle bracelet…but I am afraid to lose it. Why you might ask…because I did lose it once.

A few months after I received the bracelet, I lost it. AGH. I couldn’t find that thing to save my life. I was too scared to tell him that I’d lost the bracelet so I decided I would just go get another one. I remembered what was engraved on it, I just had to find the exact design. In the Bronx, we had several jewelry stores on Fordham Road. I spent hours walking up one side and down the other trying to find the exact bracelet. This sojourn took me easily over 2 miles of walking and lamenting, what if I can’t find it? He is going to be so angry with me - what am I going to do? When I got to the last store, not finding the exact design, I selected one that I thought was close and had the jeweler engrave it. I was beat-down tired by this time.

I was going to take this to my grave, but at some point I broke down and told him what happened. He was surprised that I thought he would be angry. He said why didn’t you just tell me? I would have just bought you another one. What a man! I learned that some of the details that women fixate on are of no concern to men. In many ways, this has been a good life lesson, especially for a women who would go on to raise 3 men.

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