When I was a kid, I used to poke around in my mom’s jewelry box when she wasn’t home. My dad had been in the Merchant Marines during WWII and traveled to North Africa. Some of the most interesting things in her jewelry box were a silver ring and brooch made to look like African masks. The brooch even had little seeds that rattled around inside the silver eyes. Some of the other things she had came from her boss, who was a world traveler. Several pieces were from Thailand, which was called Siam at the time. There were necklaces and bracelets made of silver with etchings of Siamese dancers on them. There was a cuff bracelet like that, and a bracelet and necklace with links that were shaped like fans. She also had necklaces made of carved wooden beads from Israel, and a couple pins that my dad carved out of wood. One was shaped like a flower and one was shaped like an Easter bunny. Also in my mom’s jewelry box were the bracelets that my brother and I wore in the hospital when we were born. At that time the bracelets were made out of blue beads with letters that spelled out our names.
One year for Christmas or my birthday, she sent me a box with some of her jewelry in it. I have some of the ordinary costume jewelry that she wore every day, mostly beads, and the Siamese silver bracelets and carved wooden pins my dad made. I don’t know what happened to the African things; I wish I had those. My mom had Alzheimers when she was older, and we think she might have given some of her jewelry to people who worked at the assisted living home where she lived, or maybe even thrown it out, who knows.