Sometimes when I think about my Grandma Patrick, I think of her as being a little uncaring — or at least feeling that I was not one of her favorite grandchildren. I then remember the time she gave me money to buy a tee-shirt that my mom would not pay for and then I find this note that probably contained more cash than I expected for my trip to England. I do think she used money for love sometimes, but maybe she thought she had to.
Just another object I am getting rid of after posting here.
Xmas 1978 To Dona Patrick, from Grandma Patrick
Have a very happy Christmas in England. We will all be missing you, but we will be thinking of you. Merry Xmas from us all. Grandma. Use this Gift where you most need it. Love Grandma.
She died about 5 years later. Okay, I am not throwing it away.
My mother had a mix of cheap costume jewelry and some more expensive items and after she died I was less interested in the expensive items and more interested in anything with sentimental value. I know her father gave her a heart shaped locket when she turned 16, so I took that and a few other necklaces that I knew she liked.
One of these items was a mystery. It was a large gold-toned cross on a long chain. My mother was not all that religious and I had not remembered ever seeing her wear it. I almost dismissed it and left it at the house to be sold with her other things, but I decided to take it because it looked old and I wondered if it might have belonged to my Grandma Patrick. I had no reason, except its age and the fact that my father’s mother was quite religious to suspect it was hers, but I didn’t want to leave it there in case it was. The one thing that threw me though, was that the chain looked newer than the cross and cheap compared to the cross so I was not completely convinced that 1) it was old or 2) had belonged to my grandmother.
A few months after bringing the cross home I was looking at some photos that I’d scanned. One of them was an old photo of my Grandma Patrick when she was maybe 16 or 17 years old. I noticed she was wearing a long necklace and when I enlarged the photo I knew the cross was hers!
Not being all that religious myself, I don’t know when I will wear it, but I am glad I didn’t leave it at the house.
A few years ago I went through a box in the attic kneewall marked “Memories — Dona” and found a number of items, many of which will be making an appearance on this blog. Lucky you. Somehow one of the items was given to Clare (instead of the rubbish heap or Goodwill). I’d pretty much forgotten about this item until we moved her belongings from Bronxville to Bethesda. She had it in a pile of clothes she was leaving there (which included her first “formal” and a cape my mom made for her back when Clare was into capes.) Of course I challenged her on the formal and cape and she admitted to not realizing they were in that pile (college kids these days!). She didn’t make the same claim on the item in question. As for me, if I had not come across the item, I would not have missed it. But, alas, I did. And now you get to hear all about it.
First, a bit of history of this item. As you may or may not know, I’m a bit of an Anglophile and was chastely engaged to a young man from England for a number of years in my late teens and early twenties. During one of those years my family and I visited my grandparents in Chetek. My other grandmother was along for the trip and one day we were shopping in downtown Chetek and I found a t-shirt I had to have. I don’t remember the price, but I didn’t’ have enough money and my mother would not give me the extra cash so I could own the t-shirt. When my mother walked away, my grandmother (not the one who lived in Chetek) asked me how much money I needed. I told her and she gave me the amount so I could buy the shirt. I didn’t hesitate, and possibly didn’t even thank her (kids those days!), and took the money and bought the shirt. I was elated. Until mom found out that my grandmother gave me the money. It kind of spoiled the moment.
However, I wore the shirt with pride — a few times. But I kept it. It traveled with me to Pittsburgh and Virginia and finally Maryland where it stayed until it then traveled with my daughter to New York and then (barely) back to Maryland. Here it will stay until at some point my kids have to go through my stuff after I die and wonder why I kept such a thing. (I suppose I could put it in my will that it must be kept or they lose their inheritance.)
I know you are waiting to see this item. You’ll wish you had one too. I know it.