A Teeny Tiny Love Story

A ring. And a pocket knife.

Two things I held dear because of the people who wore them.

Today, though I had misplaced the knife and was quietly tearing my house apart looking for it.

Although I was not saying I 'lost' it (since I could not bear to think that I might have lost it), I was saying "I'll find it,' an intuitive affirmation that set my inner 'hunting dog' in motion.

Looking in a bag of mismatched earrings and jewelry no longer worn, I found the school ring from Aurora University my mom wore on her little finger with pride all her life.

Mom went back to school after raising five kids, to become a teacher of other people's kids. She was an old school educator - she went from mimeographs to copy machines: no computer programs or online modules at that time. I remember the crates after crates filled with books, handwriting charts, art supplies and decorations that we lugged into her classroom the last week of August.

My mom taught third grade in the Aurora Public Schools because she said they still had some cheerfulness and innocence in them. (By the time she retired, that was no longer the case, sad to say.) She was one of those teachers that parents would thank when they saw her in the store, whose kids waved and hugged her when she saw them in public. Like a lion tamer, she did not show any weakness or fear while she was in the cage.

How great it felt to see someone who sat in the audience watching OUR recitals and performances, sitting on stage in her graduation cap and gown, watching all the people who came to see HER. At that time she was the only older person I had ever seen going to college, and it made a powerful impression on me.

Woman's college ring
silver pocket knife.jpg

My Dad was a pocketknife carrying man; and his silver pocketknife was his companion his entire life. My dad was a quiet man (you'd have to be with six girls!) but though he was a bit of a loner, he was the Doer Of Dad Things: tending his pride and joy lawn, grilling (he was a terrific cook) watching the Wide World of Sports, especially when Pro Bowling came on.

He was not as big a book reader as my mom, but when he studied something that interested him, he made notes, studying what he had done and refining the process, drilling down on technique to create something that was distinctly his. This silver pocketknife was his lifelong possession, and still seemed to hold his energy.

So today with Mom's ring in my hand, I really wanted to find where I had put Dad's knife. Bags, boxes, drawers, bowls, under beds, in chairs, each time the guess came up empty, "I'll find it" put new wind in my sails.

And suddenly, I am led to a new direction, a new area, and the box where it was nestled, waiting for me to find it - and for a new purpose.

Not a new purse or project of mine, but with his companion of over 50 years, resting in a small bag of ashes in my home.

Touching the two objects gently on the altar caused a deep rush of feeling and memories for all the things I loved about them, and I said, "Hi, Mom and Dad" like I was greeting them in person.

So while some people keep photos of their parents to remember them, I am happy to have the mana of my parents’ here - and as they were in life - together again.


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