By: Marlene Ratledge Buchanen | Gwinnett Citizen
By: Marlene Ratledge Buchanen | Gwinnett Citizen
Marlene Ratledge Buchanen

When I was in high school Mama and Daddy gave me a silver charm bracelet. It was filled with charms that were for my high school and every time we went to another state Daddy bought me a charm for it. It must weight a pound, maybe more. I probably should have sold it when silver was bringing such a high price, but who can sell memories like that?

I now wear another charm bracelet. Daddy was a big man and wore size 13 wedding ring. He had several Masonic rings as well. When Daddy died, those things went into Mama’s jewelry box and there they stayed.

I am an only child and Mama left me a notebook filled with all the information I needed to handle her affairs. In it, she told me to do whatever I wanted with her and Daddy’s jewelry. She knew no one else could wear Daddy’s rings. I pondered what to do with them for a long time.

I knew I didn’t want to melt their jewelry down into just something else, but I didn’t want to get rid of their things either. My husband, Snell, mentioned that maybe I should have one of Mama’s or Daddy's rings made into a pendant for a necklace. Then it hit me. CHARMS.

I had the heads of all their rings cut off and made into charms. I had a tennis bracelet that had gold loops as part of the design. I am not much of a bracelet person so I rarely wore it. It certainly gets worn now.

I had Daddy’s wedding ring made smaller so I could wear it on my thumb with his mother’s and my aunt’s wedding rings and a band I had bought for my husband when we thought his wedding band was lost. I wear Mama’s engagement and wedding bands on my pinkie finger. On the charm bracelet are the heads of Daddy’s Masonic ring, Mama’s Eastern Star ring, and Snell’s baby ring, a pearl drop from my baby pictures with my parents, the first pendant Snell gave me, the head of my Rainbow Girls ring, and a small gold rat. It was little mouse pin I had given Mama. Ratledge is my maiden name. The one item everyone asks me about is an oddly shaped key.

On one side of that old key is the 3-dimension printing of “L.Hart/160/ Victoria /Victoria Station”. The other side in matching print is “Watch Maker & Jewelers.” It is the winding key to a watch. If you have noticed really old clocks and pocket watches must be wound with a key instead of by the stem. That key fits a Ladies Hunter’s watch that Daddy sent home to Mama during World War II that fits this key. I wear it as a pendant. She wore it as a broach.

I do wear my charm bracelet quite a bit. I just look at the different items and think fond thoughts. I don’t’ know that I would call it a “lucky charm bracelet”, but certainly it brings me lovely memories.