My memories take me back to a wonderful Christmas spend in Hoopeston, Il, at the home of my grandparents, Mamo (Grandma Heart Charm #3346) and Pappy Groves. The year is 1955 and everything I wished for was there; white majorette boots with tassels (Drill Team Boot #3879), a Tiny Tears doll and baby buggy (Canopy Baby Carriage #1018). The tree was a real cedar and the smells combined with Pappy’s pipe (Pipe Charm #0440) and baking cookies made your mouth water. My Pappy worked in a tower on the railroad (Train Engine #8193), he would send Morse code messages down the line and switch the levers that controlled the tracks. Earlier that same year he and I traveled by train to the Chicago World Trade Fair (Chicago Illinois #4160), I remember the wooden shoes from Holland! Pappy also painted (Paint Brush #3945) houses when the weather was nice and was the neighborhood handyman, I’d go along just to fetch and carry. My Mamo was all of 4′ 10″ tall and like a little Bonaparte she ruled her domain. She used Pond’s cold cream and loved instant coffee and adored jewelry. When I visited during the summer my friend, Jackie, lived across the alley (a wonderful area no farm girl ever sees), we swam, rode bikes, attended vacation bible school (Bible Accent Charm #1228) and spent house in Woolworth 5 & 10. Meanwhile, Mamo was bent over the sewing machine making my school, play and doll clothes. Rainy days gave me the opportunity to browse her jewelry drawers. Oh, what treasures they held, tiny boxes, cotton and velvet lined with diamonds, pearls, gems, gold and silver chains, rings and the coveted gold charm bracelet. The charms were silhouettes of my brother and me, a locket, a mustard seed in a glass tube, a ladder and gold coins. It was the only genuine piece in there but to a child the glitter and glitz was perfect. I was allowed to try on everything, but cautioned to put it back, exactly like I found it. When I turned 16, Mamo sent me my first charm bracelet, but my joy was short lived. It disappeared but soon discovered scratched and mangled, gone through the wash, hidden in my little brothers (Walking Boy Charm #0351) pants pockets. Following my breakdown, Mamo promised me one day, her bracelet would be mine. Years later when my grandmother passed away, our family headed north for the memorial service. My sister and I sang “In the Garden” (Watering Can #3451) her favorite hymn. We stood, the service was ending and as I reached out my hand to a friend, I heard the gentle tinkle of Mamo’s many charms.
– Dianne B., December 2017 Winner