When Mom Started Making Jewelry

Years ago when I lived in Texas, Mom would fly down from New Hampshire to visit me. Usually she would stay for a week and a half, so when I was working, she really didn’t have all that much to do except for cleaning, reading and re-arranging things in my home (which always came out better than I could have done!).

I felt badly that she was alone all day, so I introduced her to my newest hobby; making jewelry with beads. At first she wasn’t at all interested, but as time went on, she tried making a few things, and they came out beautifully. From then on, she was hooked.

After I left Texas and came back to New Hampshire, the Crankee Yankee and I got married, and we lived in Manchester for a few years. I made jewelry; Mom made jewelry, and to her surprise, she made a real business out of it. Her color sense was amazing, and her designs were original and unique. While she sold them out of her house, she also sold them in Meredith, NH and in the White Mountain Hotel.

She and her friends would meet for coffee at the local bookstore in Wolfeboro in the morning, and many times Mom sold the necklace and earrings she was wearing right off her ears and neck! During the holiday season, she would set up a jewelry show in her office downstairs. I would help her set up, and she always had a big crowd for her event. Everyone always had a great time at Mom’s shows.

Mom lived a long and good time despite her breast cancer. When her meds stopped working for her, her doctor gave Mom the choice of chemotherapy or letting Nature take its course. Mom being Mom, took the latter with good grace. Her last jewelry show was in December 2015, and all her friends came. What they didn’t know was that Mom was going to give her friends the jewelry they chose for free; her final gift to them all.

Of course, there were tears and laughter, and more tears. But Mom was so happy to do this for the friends she had loved so long. It was something I will never forget. Mom had the time of her life during that last show, and she loved every minute of it.

When she died, I started taking home a few of her bead boxes each time I went up to visit Dad. I thought that, after her death I would never make jewelry again, but to my surprise I started right in on it. It made me feel closer to Mom and I was surprised at the new designs I made with her beads; in a way, I was connecting with Mom and her exquisite sense of color and design.

It’s amazing when you think of all the changes a person makes in life. What we start out may not be what we end with. Mom was meticulous in keeping her beads and findings in their proper place; she always knew were everything was. Mom’s bead boxes were perfect; each and every bead was in its place. For myself, I sadly do not follow Mom’s good example; just yesterday morning I started clearing up all my bead boxes—what a mess! I could just hear Mom’s “tsk, tsk, tsk” in my ear all the while.

I taught my oldest granddaughter, Ava, how to make earrings, and she really picked it up. She too has a wonderful color sense; I joked with her saying that she somehow picked that up from Mom. Unfortunately, from me she picked up the old ‘I’ll do it later’ habit. She, like me, tosses everything in one or two boxes.

But here’s the thing: you can be organized or messy, just as long as you do what you love. Mom was a beautiful example of genius and efficiency as well as a talented artist. We never know what our talents are until we try something new and different. Never say never, and give new things a try. Who knows where you’ll go from there?

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