Saturday, July 12, 2014

A Charming Keepsake of a Charmed Life

After reading Jenna Weissman Joselit's recent story in the Forward about charm bracelets, I unwrapped mine from the tissue paper in which, as she rightly points out, it "languish[es] in a drawer, [rather] than adorn[s] a wrist."

Nonetheless, my beloved keepsake remains as pristine and shiny as it was on my bat mitzvah day, when I received it, two charms already dangling from its sterling silver links.  The first, a small, flat disk, declares "A Date to Remember" above a small banner on which is engraved my birthday:  1-29-63. On the back are my initials, beautifully etched in the fanciest of scripts.  The bracelet's second charm, a mezuzah, is a small rectangular box adorned with both a Jewish star and the decalogue, engraved on the back with my bat mitzvah date:  2-6-76.  A third charm, a chai, was a gift from a friend whose name is engraved on one "leg" of the hey.  My name, engraved on the other "leg," with the date, 2-6-76, across the top rounds out the bracelet's "inaugural" charms.

An assortment of additional charms marks the milestones of my teenage years: my sweet 16, confirmation, and induction into the National Honor Society.  In between are souvenirs from family vacations:  a lobster cage from a week in Boothbay Harbor, ME, a beach shanty from a trip to Rockport, MA, and a Mickey Mouse charm from my sole visit to Disneyland.

More than milestone markers or souvenirs, though, the charms -- individually and collectively -- serve to remind me of the charmed life, overflowing with warmth, well-being, and love that my parents worked so hard to ensure for my sister and me.  Lucky for me, memories of that charmed life live in my heart, too, relieving me of the need to wear the bracelet on my wrist, where it only would "get in the way of...nonstop texting and tapping."