This year, as in years past, charm bracelets are a hot holiday gift item.
Most of the ones I see advertised come ready-made, with the decorative trinkets already dangling from them: bulbous hearts, seashells, and other, dare I say, gaudy baubles that may or may not bear any special significance to their wearer.
There do seem to be individual charms available for those who might like to personalize their bracelets to reflect their love of cats or ladybugs.
In my day (that’s what ladies of my age say when we reminisce), we accumulated charms based on our interests, hobbies or places we’d visited.
I started adorning my charm bracelet early on, with tiny pendants I collected in my younger years. My mother insisted we have the charms soldered on to the bracelet so they didn’t fall off. I’m pretty sure that somewhere I have a pouch of charms that we never got around to having soldered.
Last night, after seeing several holiday commercials for charm bracelets, I decided to dig mine out. I wondered what people would learn about me—or at least who I was as a child—simply by what hangs from my bracelet.
There are 20 charms, not counting the ones that were never affixed. Almost every one has a story of one kind or another:
- A train engine, representing a cross-country trip my father and I took in 1969
- An Alpine tram car, from our family trip to Switzerland in 1970
- A Christmas tree
- A crutch, representing my brittle ankles
- An ice skate, right next to the crutch
- A telephone, on which I spent many hours when I was young
- A space capsule, representing man landing on the moon
- A house; in particular, 4615 Duncan Drive, Annandale, Virginia
- A swimmer (technically it’s a diver wearing a light blue swim cap), from when I took swimming lessons–and failed
- A piano. You’ve already heard that story.
- A pendant bearing my astrological sign, Sagittarius
- A four-leaf clover, engraved with Lucky 13 for my 13th birthday on the 13th
- A framed photograph of my best friend, Mary Engdahl, who I hope will one day Google herself and find me here, because I sure as heck can’t find her
- A church, with a tiny window through which you can read the Lord’s Prayer
- A cowboy hat from the Ponderosa Ranch, a souvenir from Mary Engdahl
- An Amish buggy, from my trip to Lancaster, Pa., with Lisa Vernon and her family
- A dachshund, representing Gretchen, an early pet that used to belong to my Nana Marie
- A yellow and green flowered sleeping bag with the words Slumber Party engraved, representing a time when family friends stayed with us for an extended period. The charm was a gift from Becky Sterago who, when she gave it to me upon leaving, said sharing my room had been like one long slumber party
- Ballet slippers, representing another attempt at something I never mastered
- A black cat, representing Gus, my first feline friend
Somewhere I have an Eiffel Tower, a Sweet 16 and a few others, but I have no idea where they are.
I’ve already shared accounts of the family trip to Europe, a little about my love of the phone, my dislike of piano lessons and my zodiac sign. Many of the others could easily be woven into blog tales.
Which ones would you like to hear? Or do you prefer I keep my memories to the quiet jingle of the bracelet?
Better yet, what’s on your charm bracelet?