Today would have been Grandma's 90th birthday. We were close, and we had a lot of things in common. We were both December babies, for one thing, which meant that i could always count on her not to combine my birthday and Christmas presents. She figured out once that were were the same age - to the day - when we each got engaged. Her first husband, my grandfather, died of cancer, and she was one of my greatest supports when, three years after, mine did as well.
And so maybe i shouldn't have been surprised...
When i was planning the wedding with my second husband, Grandma, the daughter of a jeweler, took a keen interest in the rings. And when it turned out that she wouldn't be able to travel to the wedding, we arranged to make a "detour" to visit her and her husband at their home - several hours further south than our intended honeymoon destination - bringing wedding favors and cake. I knew that pretty much as soon as we sat down, i had better present the rings for inspection - we'd decided on vintage jewelry for me, both the engagement ring and the band. So when i held out my hands so Grandma could take a good look, i was a little taken aback when she started to giggle... not quite the reaction i'd expected.
I looked up, befuddled, and Grandma said simply, "you're not going to believe this." And then she scampered (86, and she scampered) back to her bedroom.
A moment later, she reappeared, and pressed a ring into my hand. "That's the ring my daddy carved for me when i married your Grandpa."
It was the exact same pattern, a wreath of simple orange blossoms all the way around the band.
I had never seen it before - i remember her wearing a wide, plain band of yellow gold. Hers was slightly thicker, and made in platinum, while mine is white gold. Mine is actually probably the older of the two - i've only found fragments about the maker, but it looks like the company probably went under in the Depression. Hers, of course, was custom made in 1944.
I now wear both bands together. It was the one thing of hers i was really determined to have.