Monday, January 5, 2015

A Charm Bracelet Story

I have a gentleman that comes into my shop to have me look over his boxes, bags and trays of junk costume jewelry. He is a sweet funny and energetic guy that is always so excited with the treasures he has collected around town, EBAY, Goodwill and the like. I rummage through it between customers and tell him if he has anything unusual or valuable and once in a while, I purchase something. He gave me a rose brooch as a New Year's present. A sweet guy indeed.

Anyhow, on his last visit as I poured through and over his treasure boxes; I came across this charm bracelet.

It has a collection of sterling charms with the dates on them running from the 1970's through the 1980's. They all say ABWA on them and some inspiring, goal setting word or words. On research it was from different events of the American Business Women's Association. Someone worked towards all these goals and achieved them. She especially achieved them during the 1970's when not many women were in business or in the corporate world. She must have been proud, felt accomplished as she added each charm to this bracelet.

I pulled the bracelet from my junk dealer and asked if I could buy it. He looked at it and said sure. When he and the customer at the counter asked why I wanted it ( was it for the sterling silver to be melted down ? ) -  I said that I felt touched by this bracelet. That someone, a woman who I have never met, worked so hard to gather these charms by her accomplishments only to have it end up in jewelry scrap. I was embraced by her journey and felt an immediate kinship with this woman who probably put this bracelet on everyday as she readied herself for her career, not just a job, and felt pride in herself. I am her sister, having been mostly self employed myself since the early 1980's.

The chain the charms are on isn't much, just plated metal, so maybe her budget never allowed for the frivolous purchase of a lovely sterling silver charm chain. I think that means she was given each of these charms as part of her journey in the business world. She earned them. She treasured them.

What made me even sadder was that she had no one to leave this bracelet to. Perhaps no daughter or granddaughter or son, to pass on her journey, her lessons. That whoever searched through her things after her death ( did she die ? ) just tossed it aside to be given as a charity donation or part of an auction.

I have this bracelet now. I treasure it. It will become part of her legend for me and a reminder of goals set and met, goals worthy of an award that is worn close to the pulse of life that runs through your body. Goals made in life, set in precious metal. I will keep it with this story, this imagined part of her story and pass it down to my own granddaughter, hopefully inspiring in her a life of accomplishment, joy, work and reward.

The bracelet has a home now and a story and a future. An inspirational journey for the next generation of American Business Women.


Wild Things Beads said...

Lois, I just love your story of the found Charm Bracelet. I am hoping that the woman actually lost it. It fell off her arm as she was on her travels. Who knows maybe your story will be seen by her and you get to meet her?

Marlene Newman said...

Lois, do YOU have a charm bracelet? You need to leave this AND your own charm bracelet to your granddaughter. What charms would you put on it? It's interesting just to think about.. (Of course, I have 3 charm bracelets: 2 silver and 1 gold.) They may also end up at a garage sale.

Terri Clarke said...

That's a very touching story, Lois, thanks for sharing. I do know a woman in Port Townsend who was quite important in the business arena in those days. Mary Gaboury, and I don't know if she is still in PT. She had an important position at Jefferson National Bank, later became Peoples Bank, and is located next to the current ferry dock. Do you know her?

Lois Venarchick said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Lois Venarchick said...

Mary retired from the bank several years ago. I hear about her from time to time through my FB friendship with Joyce Blankenship. I do have an original Jefferson Bank money bag which I treasure. Thanks for writing! xo