"May the LORD watch between you and me when we are absent one from the other."
This is a family heirloom locket, which has been handed on down to me. The word "Mizpah" was a fashionable thing in the era when my Great Great Grandmother, gave this locket to my Great Grandfather, who was her first born son.And this even blurrier image is of the open locket, with a photo of the old lady, with a lock of her hair on the other side, which had been carefully curled around a fine gold wire, on which there were seed pearls threaded, through the lock of hair.
My Grandmother was given the locket by her father, & she gave it to my mother. Apparently it was fashionable in the time when the locket was made, for mothers to give their sons such items of jewellry. My Grandmother told us that her father was somewhat disgusted, & never wore it himself.
Which seems a little sad to think about, now that I am a mother myself, & know how precious my children are to me.
And this is the story of a 'heinous crime'. (Though it was never referred to in quite that manner!)
When I was little, I 'got my hands on' the locket. Apparently I broke the catch & so my mother had to take the locket to a jeweller for repair.
My mother swore they had opened the piece which contained the hair, she thought to see how it was done, & when she got the locket back, the gold wire had been broken,& the seed pearls had all fallen off the wire.
I was always told the story of what had happened to the locket, & my mother was always so accusatory, about this.
It made me miserable every time she told someone the story. It made me feel so guilty for years.
But finally I felt anger. Anger at her for being careless enough to leave the locket where I could gain access to it. Anger at her for insisting on repeating the story so many times, to all who would listen.
I cringed & curled to think I had been guilty of such destruction of a beautiful item. And cringed even more, because it had meant to so much, to the mother who had given it. I was sure she would have hated me!
I dont feel guilt about it now, but it has made me miserable for years.
Whenever one of my children 'got their hands on' something & damaged it, or broke it, I always blamed myself for being careless enough to leave it where they could gain access to it. And I always made sure they never felt guilty about it too!
I know my mother didn't realise how badly she made me feel. And I suppose there was a part of her, that felt so bad, & so guilty for allowing that to happen, that she wanted to 'blame' someone else, so she wouldnt have to feel so bad.
I remember I finally flared up at my mother when I heard her telling one of my nieces about the locket. And she was genuinely startled at my fierce reaction.
I have never worn the locket, but I often look at it, & wonder about my Great great Grandmother. I wonder about DNA as I look at the grey hair, so carefully coiled in the little window.
I wonder if she mourned the fact that her son took his family, & emigrated to New Zealand. I suppose she did. She never saw him again.
My Grandmother said her Grandmother was not a very warm woman. She had not approved of her son marrying my Grandmother's mother. And therefore, I dont think she had been particularly fond of the six grandchildren. My Grandmother said her Grandmother was very strict, & they dreaded going to visit her. How sad.