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Hey Y’all: Five Gold Rings

Are you a jewelry lover? I am. I adore rings. They are my most favorite form of jewelry.

Marlene Ratledge Buchanen

When I look at people I tend to notice their hands and jewelry. When going into a shop, I am always drawn to the rings. I only have ten fingers, but some of them will accommodate more than one ring. Am I gaudy? Well, yes, I am.

I am also very sentimental. I have a house full of sentimental things that no one will ever love, but me. As long as I can, I will love them. When I am gone, my friend who owns an antique store will come in and handle everything. It all goes to our son James.

What I’d like to tell you about right now is my collection of wedding rings. I wear five wedding rings at all times. This does not count my wedding ring I received as a young bride in 1975. These rings all belonged to someone else. But now they are mine—sentimentally mine.

The five rings represent history, family, love, memories, and devotion.

marlene 5 rings 240pxMama and Daddy married May 1, 1944. He left for World War II very soon after. I don’t wear Mama’s wedding and engagement rings every day. They fit on my little finger and I wear them only when I dress up. So in addition to my own wedding rings, I add hers for number seven. Then there is the ornate rose gold band that dates from the 1860’s. I’m not sure who it belonged to, but it came down the family line. That makes eight I wear on “putting on real clothes” days.

On my left ring finger I wear a gold band that Mama received on May 1, 1945 from Daddy while he was in Germany. He found the ring in between the train tracks somewhere in Germany. It is inscribed 25.11.39 A. Sch. He assumed it may have belonged to a refuge. Mama wore that ring every day from May 1, 1945 to January 31, 2012. When it was given to me at the funeral I put it on. It has been on my finger almost every day since then. I removed it only when my broken hand was healing.

Daddy was a tall man. He stood over 6 feet 4 inches and had working man hands. His wedding band was a size 13. Mama said it had been engraved with orange blossoms when they married. Now it is slick. I had it cut down to size 9 so the inscription would remain. I wear it on my left thumb. Next to it is his mother’s wedding band.

Next to my Grandmother’s ring is a wide band I bought for my husband Snell. We thought he had lost his wedding ring. This band is Victorian and is yellow, green, and rose gold. The flowers are green and have a point of rose in the center. Now almost smooth you can still see the colors.

The last ring on my left thumb is my Aunt Hazel’s. I spent as much time with Hazel as I could. Her ring is another plain gold band like the others. Hazel was Mama’s youngest sister. Her baby died just under a year before my birth. I was her baby, too.

Five gold rings. Valuable? No, not really. There isn’t enough gold to melt down and create something and the price of gold is down again. I doesn’t matter. The day I die the rings will be removed and given to my son. He isn’t as sentimental as I am, but maybe he will remember the stories that go with the rings. These are just tokens that represent history, family, love, memories, and devotion. These are memories I carry with me every day. My loved ones are always with me.

Marlene Ratledge Buchanan is a local author and columnist. Her first two books, Life is Hard. Soften it with Laughter and A Place with a Past have won the Georgia Independent Author of the Year Awards for 2020 and 2021.Marlene is available for speaking engagements and can be reached at