Courage, Honesty, and My Grandmother’s Pearls

Recently I told wrote a story and later realized—There’s no way that’s true. Honestly, I believe my Grandma convicted me from on high.

My mother has Alzheimer’s, and do you know how often I wish I could ask her a question? Do you remember a time, let’s say, in your twenties, when you were all consumed and your mother told you something, maybe even something important, and you have no recollection of it at all? The older I become, the more I need help filling my own memory gaps, and my mom can’t help me anymore. I just have to trust myself.

It’s about my grandmother’s pearls. At some point in the 90s, I can’t pinpoint when, my mother gave me a box of costume jewelry including a strand of real pearls. Did it come from her mother, my Grandma? Or did it come from my dad’s mom, my Granny? Or was it some sort of combination? I don’t remember, and I don’t think anyone else knows. At some point, I started wearing the pearls and calling them my grandmother’s. It would’ve been true either way, but without knowing for sure, I attached the pearls to Grandma. I don’t know why.

After I told wrote the story, I started thinking.

I’m not so sure that Grandma had pearls, AND she had seven granddaughters. How would I have been selected from my older sister and all my cousins for Grandma’s pearls? I believe my Grandma planted that thought. I don’t know why.

Granny had three granddaughters and a jewelry stash. Suddenly, I realized my pearls belonged to Granny.

But I picture my grandmothers together and smiling down on me. I picture them sharing whatever they have with each other, and so my pearls now represent them both. My Grandma’s dignity and kindness. My Granny’s wisdom and sass.

For the last few years, I’ve picked a word to guide me. In 2018, the word was hope. My house had flooded in a major way, I lived in a hotel for ten months, and I hoped for the best. In 2019, the word was believe. Home again, I believed in better for my son who battles illness and for my entire family. In 2020, I picked two words—honesty and courage. This year I’m writing a memoir, but not without honesty and courage. And I felt convicted to tell you the truth of my grandmothers’ pearls.

Honesty at work. This photo filtered courtesy of Snapchat.

43 thoughts on “Courage, Honesty, and My Grandmother’s Pearls

  1. Funny how our memories make us so sure of something, until we uncover evidence to the contrary. Guess that is what makes us human. Thanks for sharing Crystal and stay well. Allan

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thank you, Sally! I wore them last in mid-April when I wrote P—Prayer and My Grandmother’s Pearls. My selfie didn’t make the cut. I wanted the piece to be about Grandma. I do love those pearls.

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Hello Neil! I can’t believe I made it to May without revealing my words. Something about the year 2020 made me feel like two words were necessary.

      It’s my husband’s birthday week, and we’re trying hard to enjoy. Have a great one yourself!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. good morning Crystal. I almost missed your pearls in your photo as you have such beautiful eyes and smile. I thought that was a cute heart shaped birthmark on your forehead also. Enjoy your day! – David

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Lovely pearls, Crystal. Then again, I’m a sucker for pearls in general, as they absolutely accentuate a person’s appearance, regardless of her complexion, hair color, etc. Much of that has to do with one my earliest memories of my mother being when she and my father got dressed up for a night out (somewhere nice, obviously),

    Charming the way your memory works, making the pearls a joint endowment from both grandmothers, That way, they always will have a beauty and a luster. In more ways than one.

    Great family lore you’ve started, too. Someday, late in this century, or early in the next, when your granddaughter prepares her descendants for the heirloom, she’ll recall, “I got these from my grandmother, and she got them from both her grandmothers. All the way back in the 1990s, if you can believe people knew about pearls way back then.”

    Liked by 2 people

    1. And look, I covered C, H, G, and P. Thank you for sharing your memory of your parents, Keith! I wish I had photos of my parents dressed up like that. It’s just a matter of digging.

      I usually wear my pearls for court appearances and such.

      Can you even imagine–late in this century? I remember waiting for Y2K. Never thought one bit about 2020.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. 2020. Doesn’t that sound like something straight from science fiction?

        For that matter, consider what people half a century ago thought awaited us in 2001.

        OK, where’s my flying car? The robot maid? Vacation home on Mars?

        The Jetsons lied to us! We was robbed!


      2. Yes! I’ve taught a Bradbury story with tenth graders called “There Will Come Soft Rains.” The setting is 2026, and the house is fully automated.


  4. Beautiful photo! I love the pearls. Isn’t the memory such a confusing thing sometimes?
    I noticed that you call your mom’s mom grandma and your dad’s mom granny. We do the same in our family!

    Liked by 2 people

  5. What a lovely post, Crystal. I can picture your Grandma and Granny looking down on you together and feeling both love and satisfaction. I think intention is a powerful force in the world and love the idea of words to guide us. This year is going to need honesty and courage, especially in the face of the unknown. Good luck with your memoir! Be well.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. I love how these little mementos find us from those who mean so much to our hearts. Whether they’re real or not, or physically handed to us or not, the love and memory live in them, and that’s what counts. x


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