I’ve always had a thing for anything old… vintage clothing, my grandma’s costume jewelry from the ’40s, Coke bottles with the original logo, and little treasures that I’d find around the farm as a kid, whether it was an old tractor part, an old log book or old worn-out pair of boots.
I recently fell in love with these two accessories – both from a jewelry line called Findings, that merges the old with the new… vintage buttons, lockets, keys, cameos and medals, pins and cuff links, paired with new crystal beads, pearls and embellished stamped or plated settings.
And while I love wearing these two unique pieces, I’m determined to make some of my own out of pieces handed down from family members, baubles I’ve collected and other sentimental items.
My grandfather recently opened up his jewelry box and offered my pick of anything I liked…
It’s true, one man’s trash is another man’s treasure. Or in our case, a grandfather’s trash is his granddaughter’s treasure. These forgotten pieces that Gappy hasn’t worn in years and years are something I’ll always cherish.
Anyone who knows me well also knows this story. I bring it up each fall around beauty pageant season. It’s one of my first memories, and better yet, it’s my very first memory of being mad at my dad.
We used to eat all of our family meals at an olive green Formica dinner table. The underside of the table was ugly, cracked, unfinished particleboard which I recall well from all the time spent crouched underneath it, decorating it with my best artwork. I patiently scraped my scratch-and-sniff washable Crayola markers across the rough surface and I thought about what a better surface the adobe hallway walls would be for such a masterpiece.
Our house at the time was small, a hand-me-down home smack dab in the middle of the farm that had been my great grandparents’ then my great aunt and uncle’s. And just like the house, the table, the couch, and just about everything else in it was also hand-me-down. Including my high chair. So I sat in this high chair — just like my older cousins before me had — at this table — just like the wrinkliest people I knew at the time once had.
It was suppertime, and tonight we were having pork chops (yum!), mashed potatoes (yum some more!), and wait… what the heck were these green things…? Mom and Dad sat down around the table with me just like we did for all of our meals. Mom was probably asking Dad about his day… talking cattle, hot weather, the usual. And while they chatted, I poked, I prodded. I sniffed, and I sliced one of the mystery beans in half with my spoon. I smashed it around a little bit, and flicked it to the other side of the plate. Dinner moved along as usual – Dad got up for a bowl of ice cream, mom started clearing the dishes while I polished off the last bit of my taters.
“Eat your lima beans, sweetie,” Mom said. “The Miss America pageant is going to be on soon and you don’t want to miss it!” I shoved a spoonful of beans in my mouth as quickly as I could. I had been practicing my pageant walk in Mom’s pink and white polka dot strappy heels all week for this. But as quickly as the beans went in, they came right back out. These were bad. Something was wrong with them…
This is my road home.
I’m lucky enough to call this gorgeous West Texas farm home. It’s where my great grandmother made sacrifices for the generations after her. It’s where my grandfather was born, raised his family and has lived his entire life; it’s where my father grew up, and on the land to which he’s dedicated his life.
It’s where I was born.
It’s where I learned to crawl, it’s where I learned to laugh. It’s where I learned the difference between right and wrong, and it’s where I learned to love…